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Peril of Idolatry, and superfluous DecMng of 

In what points the true ornaments of the Church 
or temple of God do consist and stand, hath been 
declared in the two last Homilies, entreating of the 
right use of the temple or house of God, and of the 
due reverence that all true Christian people are bound 
to give unto the same. The sum whereof is, that 
the church or house of God is a place appointed by 
the Holy Scriptures, where the lively word of God 
ought to be read, taught, and heard, the Lord's holy 
name called upon by public prayer, hearty thanks 
given to his Majesty for his infinite and unspeak- 
able benefits bestowed upon us, his holy sacraments 
duly and reverently ministered; and that therefore 
all that be godly indeed ought both with diligence, 
at times appointed, to repair together to the said 
church, and there with all reverence to use and 
behave themselves before the Lord. And that the 
said church, thus godly used by the servants of the 
Lord, in the Lord's true service, for the effectual 
presence of God's grace, wherewith he doth by his 
holy word and promises endue his people there 
present and assembled, to the attainment, as well of 
commodities worldly, necessary for us, as also of all 
heavenly gifts, and life everlasting, is called by the 


4 The First Part of the Ser77ion 

word of God (as it is indeed) the temple of the 
Lord, and the house of God, and that therefore the 
due reverence thereof is stirred up in the hearts of 
the godly, by the consideration of these two orna- 
ments of the said house of God, and not by any out- 
ward ceremonies or costly and glorious decking of 
the said house or temple of the Lord, contrary to 
the which most manifest doctrine of the Scriptures, 
and contrary to the usage of the primitive church, 
which was most pure and uncorrupt, and contrary to the 
sentences and judgments of the most ancient, learned, 
and godly doctors of the church, (as hereafter shall 
appear,) the corruption of these latter days hath 
brought into the church infinite multitudes of images, 
and the same, with other parts of the temple also, 
have decked with gold and silver, painted with colours, 
set them with stone and pearl, clothed them with silks 
and precious vestures, fancying untruly that to be the 
chief decking and adorning of the temple or house 
of God, and that all people should be the more 
moved to the due reverence of the same, if all 
corners thereof were glorious, and glistering with 
gold and precious stones. Whereas indeed they by 
the said images, and such glorious decking of the 
temple, have nothing at all profited such as were 
wise and of understanding ; but have thereby 
greatly hurt the simple and unwise, occasioning 
them thereby to commit most horrible idolatry. 
And the covetous persons by the same occasion, 
seeming to worship, and peradventure worshipping 
indeed, not only the images, but also the matter of 
them, gold and silver, as that vice is of all others in 
the Scriptures peculiarly called idolatry, or worship- 
ping of images. Ephes. v. Coloss. iii. Against the 
which foul abuses and great enormities shall be al- 
leged unto you ; first, the authority of God's holy 
word, as well out of the Old Testament, as of the 
New. And secondly, the testimonies of the holy 

agahnst Peril of Idolatry, 5 

and ancient learned fathers and doctors, out of their 
own works and ancient histories ecclesiastical, both 
that you may at once know their judgments, and 
withal understand what manner of ornaments were 
in the temples in the primitive church, in those 
times which were most pure and sincere. Thirdly, 
the reasons and arguments made for the defence of 
images or idols, and the outrageous decking of tem- 
ples and churches with gold, silver, pearl, and pre- 
cious stones shall be confuted, and so this whole 
matter concluded. But lest any should take occa- 
sion by the way, of doubting by words or names, it 
is thought good here to note first of all, that although 
in common speech we use to call the likeness or 
similitudes of men or other things, images, and not 
idols : yet the Scriptures use the said two words {idols 
and imagea) indifterently for one thing alway. They 
be words of divers tongues and sounds, but one in 
sense and signification in the Scriptures. 1 John v. 
The one is taken of the Greek word u^w\ov, an idol, 
and the other of the Latin word imago, an image, and 
so both used as English terms in the translating of 
Scriptures indifferently, according as the Septuaginta 
have in their translation in Greek aSwXa, and St. Je- 
rome in his translation of the same places in Latin 
hath simulaclira, in English, images. And in the 
New Testament, that which St. John calleth aScuXci/, 
St. Jerome likewise translateth simulachrum, as in ail 
other like places of Scripture usually he doth so tran- 
slate. And Tertullian, a most ancient doctor, and 
well learned in both the tongues, Greek and Latin, 
interpreting this place of St. John, Beware '^f idols, 
that is to say, saith Tertullian, of the images themselves ; 
the Latin words, which he useth, be effigies and imago, 
that is to say, an image. And therefore it skilleth 
not, whether in this process we use the one term or 
the other, or both together, seeing they both (though 
not in common English speech, yet in Scripture,) 

A O 

6 The First Part of tJie Sermon 

signify one thing. And though some, to blind men's 
eyes, have heretofore craftily gone about to make 
them to be taken for words of divers signification 
in matters of religion, and have therefore usually 
named the likeness or similitude of a thing set up 
amongst the heathen in their temples or other places, 
to be worshipped, an idol. But the like similitude 
with us, set up in the church, the place of worship- 
ping, they call an image, as though these two words 
{idol and image) in Scripture, did differ in propriety 
and sense, which (as is aforesaid) differ only in sound 
and language, and in meaning be indeed all one, 
specially in the Scriptures and matters of religion. 
And our images also have been, and be, and, if they 
be publicly suffered in churches or temples, ever will 
be also worshipped, and so idolatry committed to them, 
as in the last part of this Homily shall at large be 
declared and proved. Wherefore our images in tem- 
ples and churches be indeed none other but idols, as 
unto the which idolatry hath been, is, and ever will be 

And first of all, the Scriptures of the Old Testa- 
ment, condemning and abhorring as well all idolatry 
or worshipping of images, as also the very idols or 
images themselves, specially in temples, are so many 
and plentiful, that it were almost an infinite work, 
and to be contained in no small volume, to record all 
the places concerning the same. For when God 
had chosen to himself a peculiar and special people 
from amongst all other nations that knew not God, 
but worshipped idols and false gods, he gave unto 
them certain ordinances and laws to be kept and 
observed of his said people. But concerning none 
other matter did he give either more, or more earnest 
and express laws to his said people, than those that 
concerned the true worshipping of him, and the 
avoiding and fleeing of idols, and images, and idola- 
try: for that both the said idolatry is most repug- 
nant to the right worshipping of him and his true 

against Peril of Idolatry. 7 

glory, above all other vices, and that he knew 
the proneness and inclination of man's corrupt kind 
and nature to that most odious and abominable vice. 
Of the vrhich ordinances and laws, so given by the 
Lord to his people concerning that matter, I will 
rehearse and allege some that be most special for 
this purpose, that you by them may judge of the 

In the fourth chapter of the book named Deute- 
ronomy is a notable place, and most worthy with 
all diligence to be marked, which beginneth thus : 
And noWf Israel, hear the commandments and judg- 
ments which I teach thee, saith the Lord, that thou 
doing them mayest live, and enter and possess the 
land which the Lord God of your fathers will give 
you. Ye shall put nothing to the word which I speak 
to yoUy neither shall ye take any thing from it. Keep 
ye the commandments of the Lord your God, which 
I command you. Deut. iv. And by and by after he 
repeateth the same sentence three or four times, 
before he come to the matter that he would specially 
warn them of, as it were for a preface, to make them 
to take the better heed unto it. Take heed to thy- 
self, saith he, and to thy soul, with all carefulness, 
lest thouforgettest the things which thine eyes have 
seen, and that they go not out of thine heart all the 
days of thy life ; thou shall teach them to thy 
children and nephews, or posterity. And shortly 
after, The Lord spake unto you out of the middle of 
fire : but you heard the voice or sound of his words, 
but you did see no form or shape at all. And by and 
by followeth. Take heed therefore diligently unto 
your souls ; you saw no manner of image in the day, 
in the which the Lord spake unto you in Horeb, out 
of the midst of the fire, lest per adventure you, being 
deceived, should make to yourselves any graven 
image, or likeness of man or woman, or the likeness 
of any beast which is upon the earth, or of the birds 
that fly under heaven, or of any creeping thing that is 


8 The First Part of the Sermon 

moved on the earthy or of the fishes that do continue 
in the waters : lest peradventure thou, lifting up thino 
eyes to heaven, do see the sun and the moon, and the 
stars of heaven, and so thou, being deceived by error, 
shouldest honour and worship them, which the Lord 
thy God hath created to serve all nations that be 
under heaven. And again, Beware that thou forget 
not the covenant of the Lord thy God, which he made 
with thee, and so mahe to thyself any carved image, 
of them which the Lord hath forbidden to be made : 
for the Lord thy God is a consuming fire, and a jeal- 
ous God. If thou have children and nephews, and do 
tarry in the land, and being deceived, do make to 
yourselves any similitude, doing evil before the Lord 
your God, and provoke him to anger ; I do this day 
call upon heaven and earth to witness, that ye shall 
quickly perish out of the land which you shall possess ,- 
you shall not dwell in it any long time ; but the Lord 
ivill destroy you, and will scatter you amongst all na- 
tions ; and ye shall remain but a very few amongst the 
nations, vjhither the Lord will lead you away ; and 
then shall you serve gods which are made with mans 
hands, of wood and stone , which see not, and hear not, 
neither eat nor smell, and so forth. This is a notable 
chapter, and treateth almost altogether of this matter. 
But because it is too long to wi'ite out the whole, I 
have noted you certain principal points out of it. 
First, how earnestly and oft he calleth upon them to 
mark and to take heed, and that upon the peril of 
their souls, to the charge which he giveth them. 
Then how he forbiddeth, by a solemn and long re- 
hearsal of all things in heaven, in earth, and in the 
water, any image or likeness of any thing at all to 
be made. Thirdly, what penalty and horrible de- 
struction he solemnly, with invocation of heaven and 
earth for record, denounceth and threateneth to them, 
their children and posterity, if they, contrary to this 
commandment, do make or worship any images or 
similitude, which he so straitly hath forbidden. And 

against Peril of Idolatry. 9 

v/hen they, this notwithstanding, partly by inclina- 
tion of man's corrupt nature, most prone to idolatry, 
and partly occasioned by the Gentiles and heathen 
people dwelling about them, who were idolaters, did 
fall to the making and worshipping of images ; God, 
according to his word, brought upon them all those 
plagues which he threatened them with, as appeareth 
in the books of the Kings and the Chronicles, in 
sundi'y places at large. And agreeable hereunto are 
many other notable places in the Old Testament, 
Deut. xxvii. Cursed be he that maketh a carved 
image or a cast or molten image, which is abomina- 
tion before the Lord, the work of the artificer'' s hand, 
andsetteth it up in a secret corner ; and all the people 
shall sa7j, Amen. 

Read the thirteenth and fourteeth chapters of 
the book of Wisdom concerning idols or images, 
how they be made, set up, called upon, and offered 
unto, and how he praiseth the tree whereof the 
gibbet is made, as happy in comparison to the tree 
that an image or idol is made of, even by these 
very words ; happy is the tree where through right- 
eousness Cometh, (meaning the gibbet;) but cursed 
is the idol that is made with hands, yea, both it, 
and he that made it, and so forth. And by and 
by he showeth, how that the things which were the 
.good creatures of God before, (as trees or stones,) 
when they be once altered and fashioned into images 
to be worshipped, become abomination, a temptation 
unto the souls of men, and a snare for the feet of the 
unwise. And why ? The seeking out of images is 
the beginning of whoredom, saith he ; and the bring- 
ing up of them is the destruction of life ; for they 
were not from the beginning, neither shall they con- 
tinue for ever. The wealthy idleness of men hath 
found them out upon earth, therefore shall they conie 
shortly to an end : and so forth to the end of the 
chapter, containing these points : how idols or images 
M'ere first invented and offered unto, liow bv an un- 

A 5 

10 The First Part of the Sermon 

gracious custom they were established, how tyrants 
compel men to worship them, how the ignorant and 
the common people are deceived by the cunning of 
the workman, and the beauty of the image, to do 
lionour unto it, and so to err from the knowledge of 
God, and of other great and many mischiefs that 
come by images. And for a conclusion he saith, that 
the honouring of abominable images is the cause, the 
beginning, and end of all evil, and that the wor- 
shippers of them be either mad or most wicked. See 
and view the whole chapter with diligence, for it is 
worthy to be well considered, specially that is written 
of the deceiving of the simple and unwise common 
people, by idols and images, and repeated twice or 
thrice, lest it should be forgotten. And in the chap- 
ter following be these words : The painting of the 
picture and carved image with divers colours enticeth 
the ignorant, so that he honoureth and loveth the 
picture of a dead image that hath no soul. Wisd. xv. 
Nevertheless, they that love such evil things, they that 
trust in them, they that make them, they that favour 
them, and they that honour them, are all worthy of 
death, and so forth. 

In the Book of Psalms, the prophet curseth the 
image-honourers in divers places. Confounded be all 
they that worship carved images^ and that delight or 
glory in them. Like be they unto the images that 
make them, and all they that put their trust in them. 
Psalm xcvi. cxv. cxxxv. 

And in the prophet Isaiah, saith the Lord : Even 
I am the Lord, and this is my name, and my glory 
will I give to none other, neither my honour to graven 
images. And by and by; Let them be confounded 
with shame that trust in idols or images, or say to 
them, You are our Gods. Isa. xlii. And in the 
fortieth chapter, after he hath set forth the incom- 
prehensible majesty of God, he asketh. To whom 
then will ye make God like ? Or what similitude will 
ye set up unto him ? Shall the carver make him a 

against Peril of Idolatry. i 1 

earved image? And shall the goldsmith cover him 
with goldy and cast him into a form of silver plates ? 
And for the poor man^ shall the image-maker frame 
an image of timber, that he may have somewhat to 
set up also ? And after this he crieth out, O wretches, 
heard ye never of this ? Hath it not been preached 
unto you since the beginning, and so forth, how by 
the creation of the world, and the greatness of the 
work, they might understand the majesty of God, 
the creator and maker of all, to be greater than that 
it should be expressed, or set forth in any image or 
bodily similitude ? Isa. xl. And besides this preach- 
ing, even in the law of God, written with his own fin- 
ger, (as the Scripture speaketh,) and that in the first 
table, and the beginning thereof, is this doctrine afore- 
said against images not briefly touched, but at large 
set forth, and preached, and that with denunciation of 
destruction to the contemners and breakers of this 
law, and their posterity after them. Exod. xx. And, 
lest it should not yet be marked, or not remembered, 
the same is written and reported not in one, but in 
sundry places of the word of God, that, by oft hear- 
ing and reading it, we might once learn and remem- 
ber it, as you also hear daily read in the church, God 
spake these ivords and said, I am the Lord thy God, 
Thou shall have none other gods but me. Thou shalt 
not make to thyself any graven image, nor the like- 
ness of any thing that is in heaven above, nor in the 
earth beneath, nor in the ivater under the earth : Ihou 
shalt not bow down to them, nor worship them : for I 
the Lord thy God am a jealous God, and visit the sin 
of the fathers upon the children, unto the third and 
fourth generation of them that hate me, and shoic 
mercy unto thousands in them that love me, and keep 
my commandments. Lev. xxvi. Deut. v. Exod. xx. 
All this notwithstanding, neither could the nota- 
bleness of the place, being the very beginning of 
the living Lord's law, make us to mark it, nor the 

A 6 

1 2 The First Part of the Sermon 

plain declaration, by recounting of all kind of simili- 
tudes, cause us to understand it, nor the oft repeat- 
ing and reporting of it in divers and sundry places, 
the oft reading and hearing of it, could cause us to 
remember it, nor the dread of the horrible penalty 
to ourselves, our childi-en, and posterity after us, fear 
us from transgressing of it, nor the greatness of the 
reward to us and our children after us, move us 
any thing to obedience, and the observing of this the 
Lord's great law : but as though it had been written 
in some corner, and not at large expressed, but briefly 
and obscurely touched ; as though no penalty to the 
transgressors, nor reward to the obedient, had been 
adjoined unto it, like blind men without all knowledge 
and understanding, like unreasonable beasts, without 
dread of punishment or respect of reward, have dimi- 
nished and dishonoured the high majesty of the living 
God, by the baseness and vileness of sundry and divers 
images of dead stocks, stones, and metals. And as 
the majesty of God, whom we have left, forsaken, 
and dishonoured, and therefore the greatness of our 
sin and offence against his majesty, cannot be ex- 
pressed; so is the weakness, vileness, and foolish- 
ness, in device of the images, (whereby we have 
dishonoured him,) expressed at large in the Scrip- 
Places of the tures, namely, the Psalms, the Book 
Scripture against of Wisdom, the Prophet Isaiah, Eze- 
idois or images, j^j^]^ ^^^ Baruch, specially in these 

places and chapters of them : Psalm cxv. and 
cxxxv. Isaiah xl. and xliv. Es^ekiel vi. Wisdom 
xiii. xiv. and xv. Baruch vi. The which places, 
as I exhort you often and diligently to read, so are 
they too long at this present to be rehearsed in an 
Homily. Notwithstanding, I will make you certain 
brief or short notes out of them, what they say of 
these idols or images. First, that they be made but 
of small pieces of wood, stone, or metal, and there- 
fore they cannot be any similitudes of the great ma- 

against Peril of Idolatry. 13 

jesty of God, whose seat is heaven, and the earth his 
footstooL Secondly, that they be dead, have eyes, 
and see not, hands, and feel not, feet, and cannot go, 
&c. and therefore they cannot be fit similitudes of the 
living God. Thirdly, that they have no power to do 
good nor harm to others, though some of them have 
an axe, some a sword, some a spear in their hands, 
yet do thieves come into their temples and rob them, 
and they cannot once stir to defend themselves from 
the thieves : nay, if the temple or church be set afire, 
that their priests can run away and save themselves, 
but they cannot once move, but tarry still like blocks 
as they are, and be burned, and therefore they can be 
no meet figures of the puissant and mighty God, who 
alone is able both to save his servants, and to destroy 
his enemies everlastingly. They be trimly decked in 
gold, silver, and stone, as well the images of men as 
of women, like wanton wenches, (saith the prophet 
Baruch,) that love paramours, and therefore can they 
not teach us, nor our wives and daughters, any sober- 
ness, modesty, and chastity. Bar. vi. And therefore 
although it is now commonly said, that they be the 
laymen's books, yet we see they teach no good lesson, 
neither of God, nor godliness, but all error and wick- 
edness. Therefore God by his word, as he forbiddeth 
any idols or images to be made or set up, so doth he 
command such as we find made and set up to be 
pulled down, broken, and destroyed. 

And it is written in the book of Numbers, the 
f23d chapter, that there was no idol in Jacob, nor 
there was no image seen in Israel, and that the Lord 
God was with the people. Where note, that the 
true Israelites, that is the people of God, have no 
images among them, but that God was with them, 
and that therefore their enemies cannot hurt them, 
as appeareth in the process of that chapter. And 
as concerning images already set up, thus saith the 
Lord in Deuteronomy: Overturn their altars^ and 
break them to pieces^ cut down their groves, burn 

14 TJie First Part of the Sermon 

their images ; for thou art an holy people unto the 
Lord. Deut. vii. xii. And the same is repeated 
more vehemently again in the twelfth chapter of the 
same book. Here note, what the people of God 
ought to do to images, where they find them. But 
lest any private persons, upon colour of destroying 
images, should make any stir or disturbance in the 
commonwealth, it must always be remembered, that 
the redress of such public enormities pertain- 
eth to the magistrates, and such as be in authority 
only, and not to private persons : and therefore the 
good kings of Judah, Asa, Hezekiah, Josaphat, 
and Josias, are highly commended for the breaking 
down and destroying of the altars, idols, and images. 
1 Kings XV. 2 Chron. xiv. xv. xxxi. And the Scrip- 
tures declare, that they specially in that point did 
that which was right before the Lord. And contra- 
riwise, Jeroboam, Achab, Joas, and other princes, 
which either set up, or suffered such altars or images 
undestroyed, are by the word of God reported to 
have done evil before the Lord. And if any, con- 
trary to the commandment of the Lord, will needs 
set up such altars or images, or suffer them unde- 
stroyed amongst them, the Lord himself threateneth, 
in the first chapter of the Book of Numbers, and by 
his holy prophets Ezekiel, Micah, and Habakkuk, 
that he will come himself and pull them down. 
Numb. i. Mich. i. Hab. ii. And how he will handle, 
punish, and destroy the people that so set up or 
suffer such altars, images, or idols undestroyed, he 
denounceth by his prophet Ezekiel in this manner : 
/ myself, saith the Lord, will bring a sword over you, 
to destroy your high places : I will cast down your 
altars, and break down your images ; your slain men 
will I lay before your gods, and the dead carcases of 
the children of Israel will I cast before their idols : 
your bones will I strew round about your altars and 
dwelling-places, your cities shall be desolate, the hill 
chapels laid waste, your altars destroyed and broken, 


against Peril of Idolatry. 1 5 

ijour gods cast down and taken away, your temples 
laid even with the ground, your own works clean 
rooted out, your slain men shall lie amongst you, that 
ye may learn to know how that I am the Lord, and 
so forth to the chapter's end, worthy with diHgence 
to be read ; that they that be near shall perish with 
the sword ; they that be far off, with the pestilence ; 
they that flee into holds or wildernesses, with hunger; 
and if any be yet left, that they shall be carried away 
prisoners to servitude and bondage. So that if either 
the multitude or plainness of the places might make 
us to understand, or the earnest charge that God giv- 
eth in the said places move us to regard, or the horri- 
ble plagues, punishments, and dreadful destruction, 
threatened to such worshippers of images or idols, 
setters-up, or maintainers of them, might engender 
any fear in our hearts, we would once leave and for- 
sake this wickedness, being in the Lord's sight so 
great an offence and abomination. Infinite places 
almost might be brought out of the Scriptures of the 
Old Testament concerning this matter : but these few 
at this time shall serve for all. 

You will say, peradventure, these things pertain 
to the Jews ; what have we to do with them ? In- 
deed they pertain no less to us Christians, than to 
them. For if we be the people of God, how can the 
word and law of God not appertain to us ? St. Paul, 
alleging one text out of the Old Testament, con- 
cludeth generally for other Scriptures of the Old 
Testament as well as that, saying. Whatsoever is 
written before, (meaning in the Old Testament,) is 
written for our instruction : Rom. xv. which sen- 
tence is most specially true of such writings of 
the Old Testament, as contain the immutable law 
and ordinances of God, in no age or time to be 
altered, nor of any persons of any nations or age to 
be disobeyed, such as the above-rehearsed places 
be. Notwithstanding, for your further satisfying 
herein, according to my promise, I will, out of the 

16 The First Part of the Sermon 

Scriptures of the New Testament or Gospel of our 
Saviour Christ, likewise make a confirmation of the 
said doctrine against idols or images, and of our duty 
concerning the same. First, the Scriptures of the 
New Testament do in sundry places make mention 
with rejoicing, as for a most excellent benefit and gift 
of God, that they which received the faith of Christ 
were turned from their dumb and dead images unto 
the true and living God, who is to be blessed for ever : 
namely, in these places ; the fourteenth and seven- 
teenth of the Acts of the Apostles ; the eleventh 
to the Romans ; the First Epistle to the Corinth- 
ians, the twelfth chapter ; to the Galatians, the 
fourth ; and the First to the Thessalonians, the first 

And likewise the said idols or images, and wor- 
shipping of them, are in the Scriptures of the New 
Testament by the Spirit of God much abhorred 
and detested, and earnestly forbidden, as appeareth 
both in the forenamed places, and also many other 
besides, as in the seventh and fifteenth of the Acts of 
the Apostles, the first to the Romans, where is set 
forth the horrible plague of idolaters, given over by 
God into a reprobate sense, to work all wickedness 
and abominations not to be spoken, as usually spiritual 
and carnal fornication go together. 

In the First Epistle to the Corinthians, the fifth 
chapter, we are forbidden once to keep company, or 
to eat and drink with such as be called hretJiren or 
Christians, that do worship images. In the fifth to 
the Galatians, the worshipping of images is numbered 
amongst the works of the flesh: and in the first 
to the Corinthians, the tenth, it is called the service 
of devils, and that such as use it shall he destroyed. 
And in the sixth chapter of the said Epistle, and the 
fifth to the Galatians, is denounced, that such image- 
^vor shippers shall never come into the inheritance of 
the kingdom of heaven. And in sundry other places 
is threatened, that the wrath of God shall come upon 

against Peril of Idolatry, 1 7 

all such. And therefore St. John in his Epistle ex- 
horteth us, as his dear children, to beware of images, 
1 John V. And St. Paul warneth us to flee from the 
worshipping of them, if we be wise, that is to say, if 
we care for health and fear destruction, if we re- 
gard the kingdom of God and life everlasting, and 
dread the wrath of God and everlasting damnation. 
1 Cor. X. For it is not possible that we should be 
worshippers of images and the true servants of God 
also, as St. Paul teacheth in the second to the 
Corinthians, the sixth chapter, affirming expressly 
that there can be no more consent or agreement be- 
ttveen the temple of God (which all true Christians 
be) and images, than between righteousness and un- 
righteousness, between light and darkness, between 
the faithful and the unfaithful, or between Christ 
and the devil. Which place enforceth both that we 
should not worship images, and that we should not 
have images in the temple, for fear and occasion of 
worshipping them, though they be of themselves things 
indifferent : for the Christian is the holy temple and 
lively image of God, as the place well declareth, to 
such as will read and weigh it. And whereas all 
godly men did ever abhor that any kneeling and 
worshipping or offering should be used to them- 
selves when they were alive, (for that it was the 
honour due to God only,) as appeareth in the x\cts 
of the Apostles, by St. Peter forbidding it to Cor- 
nelius, and by St. Paul and Barnabas forbidding the 
same to the citizens in Lystra : Acts x. xiv. yet we 
like madmen fall down before the dead idols or images 
of Peter and Paul, and give that honour to stocks and 
stones, which they thought abominable to be given to 
themselves, being alive. And the good angel of God, 
as appeareth in the book of St. John's Revelation, 
refused to be kneeled unto, when that honour was 
offered him of John : Beware, saith the angel, that 
tJiou do it not, for I am thy fellow servatit. But the 
evil angel, Satan, desireth nothing so much as to be 

18 The First Part of the Sermon 

kneeled unto, and thereby at once both to rob God of 
his due honour, and to work the damnation of such as 
make him so low courtesy, as in the story of the Gos- 
pel appeareth in sundry places. Yea, and he offered 
our Saviour Christ all earthly goods, on the condition 
that he would kneel down and worship him. Matt. iv. 
Luke iv. But our Saviour repelleth Satan by the 
Scriptures, saying, It is written^ Thou shalt worship 
thy Lord God, and him alone shalt thou serve. But 
we, by not worshipping and serving God alone, (as 
the Scriptures teach us,) and by worshipping of images, 
contrary to the Scriptures, pluck Satan to us, and are 
ready, without reward, to follow his desire ; yea, rather 
than fail, we will offer him gifts and oblations to re- 
ceive our service. But let us, brethren, rather follow 
the counsel of the good angel of God, than the sug- 
gestion of subtle Satan, that wicked angel and old 
serpent ; who, according to the pride whereby he first 
fell, attempteth always by such sacrilege to deprive God 
(whom he envieth,) of his due honour ; and (because 
his own face is horrible and ugly,) to convey it to 
himself by the mediation of gilt stocks and stones, and 
withal to make us the enemies of God, and his own 
suppliants and slaves ; and, in the end, to procure us 
for a reward, everlasting destruction and damnation. 
Therefore, above all things, if we take ourselves to be 
Christians indeed, (as we be named,) let us credit the 
word, obey the law, and follow the doctrine and ex- 
ample of our Saviour and Master Christ, repelling 
Satan's suggestion to idolatry and worshipping of 
images, according to the truth alleged and taught 
out of the Testament and Gospel of our said heavenly 
Doctor and Schoolmaster Jesus Christ, who is God to 
be blessed for ever. Amen, 

against Peril of Idolatry. 19 

The Second Part of the Homily against Peril of 

You have heard, well-beloved, in the first part of this 
Homily, the doctrine of the word of God against idols 
and images, against idolatry and worshipping of 
images, taken out of the Scriptures of the Old 7^esta- 
ment and the New, and confirmed by the examples as 
well of the Apostles as of our Saviour Christ himself. 
Now although our Saviour Christ taketh not or 
needeth not any testimony of men, and that which is 
once confirmed by the certainty of his eternal truth 
hath no more need of the confirmation of man's doc- 
trine and writings, than the bright sun at noontide hath 
need of the light of a little candle, to put way dark- 
ness, and to increase his light : yet, for your further 
contentation, it shall, in this second part, be declared 
(as in the beginning of the first part was promised,) 
that this truth and doctrine concerning the forbidding 
of images, and worshipping of them, taken out of the 
Holy Scriptures, as well of the Old Testament as the 
New, was believed and taught of the old holy fathers, 
and most ancient learned doctors, and received in the 
old primitive church, which was most uncorrupt and 
pure. And this declaration shall be made out of the 
said holy doctors' own writings, and out of the ancient 
histories ecclesiastical to the same belonging. 

Tertullian, a most ancient writer and doctor of 
the church, who lived about one hundred and three- 
score years after the death of our Saviour Christ, 
both in sundry other places of his works, and 
specially in his book written against The Manner of 
Crownings and in another little treatise, entitled, Of 
the Soldier s Crown or Garland, (Lib. contra coro- 
nandi morem,) doth most sharply and vehemently 
write and inveigh against images or idols : and upon 
St. John's words, the first Epistle and fifth chapter. 

20 The Second Part of the Sermon 

saith thus : St. John, (saith he,) deeply considering 
the matter, saith, My little children, keep yourselves 
from images or idols, 1 John v. He saith not now, 
keep yourselves from idolatry, as it were from the 
service and worshipping of them ; but from the images 
or idols themselves, that is, from the very shape and 
likeness of them : for it were an unworthy thing, that 
the image of the living God should become the image 
of a dead idol. Do you not think those persons which 
place images and idols in churches and temples, yea, 
shrine them even over the Lord's Table, even as it 
were of purpose to the worshipping and honouring of 
them, take good heed to either St. John's counsel, or 
TertuUian's ? For so to place images and idols, is it 
to keep themselves from them, or else to receive and 
embrace them? 

Origen, in his book against Celsus, saith thus : 
" Christian men and Jews, when they hear these 
words of the law, Thou shaltfear the Lord thy God, 
and shalt not make any image ^ do not only abhor 
the temples, altars and images of the gods, but, if 
need be, will rather die than they should defile 
themselves with any impiety." And shortly after 
he saith, " In the commonwealth of the Jews, the 
carver of idols and image-maker was cast far off 
and forbidden, lest they should have any occasion to 
make images, which might pluck certain foolish 
persons fi'om God, and turn the eyes of their souls 
to the contemplation of earthly things." And in 
another place of the same book, " It is not only 
(saith he,) a mad and frantic part to worship images, 
but also once to dissemble or wink at it. And a 
man may know God and his only Son, and those 
which have had such honour given them by God, that 
they be called gods : but it is not possible that any 
should by worshipping of images get any knowledge 
of God." 

Athanasius, in his book against the Gentiles, hath 
these words : " Let them tell, I pray you, how God 

against Peril of Idolatry, 21 

may be known by an image. If it be by the matter 
of an image, then there needeth no shape or form, 
seeing that God hath appeared in all material crea- 
tures, which do testify his glory. Now if they say 
he is known by the form or fashion, is he not better 
to be known by the living things themselves, whose 
fashions the images express ? P^or of surety, the 
glory of God should be more evidently known, if it 
were declared by reasonable and living creatures, 
rather than by dead and unmoveable images. There- 
fore, when ye do grave or paint images to the end 
to know God thereby, surely ye do an unworthy and 
unfit thing." And in another place of the same book 
he saith, " The invention of images came of no good, 
but of evil ; and whatsoever hath an evil beginning 
can never in any thing be judged good, seeing it is 
altogether naught." Thus far Athanasius, a very 
ancient, holy and learned bishop and doctor, who 
judgeth both the first beginning and the end, and alto- 
gether of images or idols to be naught. 

Lactantius likewise, an old and learned writer, in 
his book of the Origin of Error, hath these words : 
" God is above man, and is not placed beneath, but is 
to be sought in the highest region. Wherefore there 
is no doubt, but that no religion is in that place where- 
soever any image is : for if religion stand in godly 
things, (and there is no godliness but in heavenly 
things,) then be images without religion." Lib. ii. c. 
16. These be Lactantius's words, who was above 
thirteen hundred years ago, and within three hundred 
years after our Saviour Christ. 

Cyrillus, an old and holy doctor, upon the Gospel 
of St. John hath these words : " Many have lefl the 
Creator and have worshipped the creature ; neither 
have they been abashed to say unto a stock. Thou 
art my father ; and to a stone. Thou begottest me. 
For many, yea, almost all (alas for sorrow,) are fallen 
unto such follv, that they have given the glory of 
Deity, or Godhead, to things without sense or feeling." 

22 The Second Part of the Sermon 

Epiphanius, Bishop of Salamine in Cyprus, a very 
holy and learned man, who lived in Theodosius the 
emperor's time, about three hundred and ninety 
years after our Saviour Christ's ascension, virriteth 
thus to John, Patriarch of Jerusalem : " I entered 
(saith Epiphanius) into a certain church to pray : I 
found there a linen cloth hanging in the church-door, 
painted, and having in it the image of Christ, as it 
were, or of some other saint ; (for I remember not 
well whose image it was :) therefore when I did see 
the image of a man hanging in the church of Christ, 
contrary to the authority of the Scriptures, I did tear 
it, and gave counsel to the keepers of the church 
that they should wind a poor man that was dead in the 
said cloth, and so bury him." 

And afterwards the same Epiphanius, sending 
another unpainted cloth, for that painted one which 
he had torn, to the said patriarch, writeth thus : " I 
pray you, will the elders of that place to receive this 
cloth, which I have sent by this bearer, and command 
them that from henceforth no such painted cloths, 
contrary to our religion, be hanged in the church of 
Christ. For it becometh your goodness rather to 
have this care, that you take away such scrupulosity, 
which is unfitting for the church of Christ, and offen- 
sive to the people committed to your charge." And 
this epistle, as worthy to be read of many, did St. 
Jerome himself translate into the Latin tongue. And 
that ye may know that St. Jerome had this holy and 
learned Bishop Epiphanius in most high estimation, 
and therefore did translate this epistle as a writing 
of authority, hear what a testimony the said St. Je- 
rome giveth him in another place, in his Treatise 
against the errors of John, Bishop of Jerusalem, 
All notable bi- where he hath these words : " Thou 
shops were then hast (saith St. Jerome) Pope Epipha- 
called popes. nius, which doth openly in his letters 
call thee an heretic. Surely thou art not to be pre- 
ferred before him, neither for age, nor learning, 

against Peril of Idolatry, 2S 

nor godliness of life, nor by the testimony of the 
whole world." And shortly after in the same trea- 
tise, saith St. Jerome, Bishop Epiphanius was ever 
of so great veneration and estimation, that Valens the 
emperor, who was a great persecutor, did not once 
touch him. For heretics, being princes, thought it 
their shame, if they should persecute such a notable 
man. And in the Tripartite Ecclesiastical History, 
the ninth book, and forty-eighth chapter, is testified, 
that " Epiphanius, being yet alive, did work miracles, 
and that after his death, devils, being expelled at his 
grave or tomb, did roar." Lib. ix. c. 48. Thus you 
see what authority St. Jerome, and that most ancient 
history, give unto the holy and learned Bishop Epi- 
phanius, whose judgment of images in churches and 
temples, then beginning by stealth to creep in, is 
worthy to be noted. 

First, he judged it contrary to Christian religion, 
and the authority of the Scriptures, to have any 
images in Christ's church. Secondly, he rejected 
not only carved, graven, and molten images, but also 
painted images out of Christ's church. Thirdly, 
that he regarded not whether it were the image of 
Christ, or of any other saint; but being an image 
would not suffer it in the church. Fourthly, that he 
did not only remove it out of the church, but with a 
vehement zeal tare it in sunder, and exhorted that a 
corpse should be wrapped and buried in it, judging 
it meet for nothing but to rot in the earth, following 
herein the example of the good king Hezekiah, who 
brake the brazen serpent to pieces, and burned it to 
ashes, for that idolatry was committed to it. Last of 
all, that Epiphanius thinketh it the duty of vigilant 
bishops to be careful that no images be permitted 
in the church, for that they be occasion of scruple 
and offence to the people committed to their charge. 
Now whereas neither St. Jerome, who did translate 
the same Epistle, nor the authors of that most ancient 

24 The Second Part of the Sermon 

History Ecclesiastical Tripartite, (who do most highly 
commend Epiphanius, as is aforesaid,) nor any other 
godly or learned bishop at that time, or shortly after, 
have written any thing against Epiphanius's judgment 
concerning images ; it is an evident proof, that in those 
days, which were about four hundred years after our 
Saviour Christ, there were no images publicly used 
and received in the church of Christ, which was then 
much less corrupt and more pure than now it is. 

And wdiereas images began at that time secretly 
and by stealth to creep out of private men's houses 
into the churches, and that first in painted cloths, 
and walls, such bishops as were godly and vigilant, 
when they spied them, removed them away, as un- 
lawful and contrary to Christian religion, as did here 
Epiphanius, to whose judgment you have not only 
St. Jerome, the translator of his epistle, and the 
writer of the History Tripartite, but also all the 
learned and godly clerks, yea, and the whole church 
of that age, and so upward to our Saviour Christ's 
time, by the space of about four hundred years, con- 
senting and agreeing. This is written the more largely 
of Epiphanius, for that our image-maintainers now-a- 
days, seeing themselves so pressed with this most plain 
and earnest act and writing of Epiphanius, a bishop 
and doctor of such antiquity and authority, labour by 
all means (but in vain against the truth) either to prove 
that this epistle was neither of Epiphanius's writing, 
nor St. Jerome's translation : Either if it be, say they, 
it is of no great force ,' for this Einphanius, say they, 
was a Jew, and being converted to the Christian faith 
and made a bishop, retained the hatred which Jeivs 
have to images still in his mind, and so did and wrote 
against them as a Jew, rather than as a Christian. 
O Jewish impudency and malice of such devisers ! 
It would be proved, and not said only, that Epipha- 
nius was a Jew. Furthermore, concerning the reason 
they make, I would admit it gladly. For if Epi- 

against Peril of Idolatry. Q5 

phanius's judgment against images is not to be ad- 
mitted, for that he was born of a Jew, an enemy to 
images, which be God's enemies, converted to Christ's 
reHgion, then likewise foUoweth it, that no sentence in 
the old doctors and fathers, sounding for images, ought 
to be of any authority ; for that in the primitive church 
the most part of learned writers, as Tertullian, Cyprian, 
• Ambrose, Austin, and infinite others more, were of 
Gentiles (which be favourers and worshippers of 
images) converted to the Christian faith, and so let 
somewhat slip out of their pens, sounding for images, 
rather as Gentiles than Christians, as Eusebius in his 
History Ecclesiastical, and St. Jerome saith plainly, 
" that images came first from the Gentiles to us Christ- 
ians." And much more doth it follow, that the opinion 
of all the rabbi ement of the popish church, maintaining 
images, ought to be esteemed of small or no authority, 
for that it is no marvel that they, which have from 
their childhood been brought up amongst images and 
idols, and have drunk in idolatry almost with their mo- 
ther's milk, hold^vith images and idols, and speak and 
write for them. But indeed it would not be so much 
marked, whether he were of a Jew or a Gentile, con- 
verted unto Christ's religion, that wi'iteth, as how agree- 
able or contrary to God's word he doth write, and so 
to credit or discredit him. Now what God's word saith 
of idols and images, and the worshipping of them, you 
heard at large in the first part of this Homily. 

St. Ambrose, in his treatise of the death of Theo- 
dosius the emperor, saith, " Helene found the cross 
and the title on it. She worshipped the king, and 
not the wood, surely, (for that is an heathenish error, 
and the vanity of the wicked,) but she worshipped 
him that hanged on the cross, and whose name was 
written in the title ;" and so forth. See both the 
godly empress's fact, and St. Ambrose's judgment at 
once : they thought it had been an heathenish error 
and vanity of the wicked, to have worshipped the 
cross itself which was imbrued with our Saviour 
2/ 14] B 

26 The Second Part of the Sermon 

Christ's own precious blood. And we fall down before 
every cross piece of timber, which is but an image of 
that cross. 

St. Augustine, the best learned of all ancient doc- 
tors, in his forty-fourth epistle to Maximus, saith, 
" Know thou that none of the dead, nor any thing 
that is made of God, is worshipped as God of the 
catholic Christians, of whom there is a church also 
in your town." Note, that by St. Augustine, such 
as worshipped the dead, or creatures, be not catholic 

The same St. Augustine teacheth, in the 12th 
book of the City of God, the tenth chapter, " that 
neither temples or churches ought to be builded or 
made for martyrs or saints, but to God alone : and 
that there ought no priests to be appointed for 
martyr or saint, but to God only." The same 
St. Augustine, in his book of the Manners of the 
Catholic Church, hath these words ; " I know that 
many be w^orshippers of tombs and pictures ; I 
know that there be many that banquet most riotously 
over the graves of the dead, and giving meat to dead 
carcases, do bury themselves upon the buried, and 
attribute their gluttony and drunkenness to religion." 
See, he esteemeth worshipping of saints' tombs and 
pictures as good religion as gluttony and drunken- 
ness, and no better at all. St. Augustine greatly 
alloweth Marcus Varro, affirming, that religion is 
most pure without images, and saith himself, 
*' Images be of more force to crooken an unhappy 
soul, than to teach and instruct it." And saith fur- 
ther, " Every child, yea, every beast knoweth that 
it is not God that they see." Lib. de Civ. Dei, 
cap. 43. In Psal, xxxvi. et cxiii. Wherefore then 
doth the Holy Ghost so often monish us of that 
which all men know? Whereunto St. Augustine 
himself answereth thus : " For (saith he) when images 
are placed in temples, and set in honourable sub- 
limity, and begin once to be worshipped, forthwith 

against Peril of Idolatry, 27 

breedeth the most vile affection of error. This is St. 
Augustine's judgment of images in churches, that 
by and by they breed error and idolatry. It would 
be tedious to rehearse all other places, which might 
be brought out of the ancient doctors, against images 
and idolatry. Wherefore we shall hold ourselves con- 
tented with these few at this present. Now, as con- 
cerning histories ecclesiastical, touching this matter, 
that ye may know why, and when, and by whom 
images were first used privately, and afterwards not 
only received into Christians' churches and temples, 
but in conclusion worshipped also, and how the same 
was gainsaid, resisted, and forbidden, as well by godly 
bishops and learned doctors, as also by sundry Christ- 
ian princes : I will briefly collect into a compendious 
history, that which is at large and in sundry places 
written by divers ancient writers and historiographers 
concerning this matter. 

As the Jews, having most plain and express com- 
mandment of God, that they should neither make 
nor worship any image, (as it is at large before de- 
clared,) did, notwithstanding, by the example of the 
Gentiles or heathen people that dwelt about them, 
fall to the making of images, and worshipping of 
them, and so to the committing of most abominable 
idolatry, for the which God by his holy prophets doth 
most sharply reprove and threaten them, and after- 
ward did accomplish his said threatenings by extreme 
punishing of them, (as is also above specified :) even 
so some of the Christians in old time, which were 
converted from worshipping of idols and false gods, 
unto the true living God, and to our Saviour Jesus 
Christ, did of a certain blind zeal (as men long ac- 
customed to images) paint or carve images of our 
Saviour Christ, his mother Mary, and of the Apos- 
tles, thinking that this was a point of gratitude and 
kindness towards those, by whom they had received 
the true knowledge of God, and the doctrine of the 
Gospel. But these pictures or imaijes came not yet 


28 The Second Fart of the Sermon 

into churches, nor were not yet worshipped of a long 

time after. And lest you should think that I do say 

this of mine own head only, without authority, I allege 

for me Eusebius, Bishop of Cassarea, and the most 

ancient author of the ecclesiastical history, who lived 

about the three hundred and thirtieth year of our 

Lord, in Constantinus Magnus's days and his son 

Constantius, emperors, in the seventh book of his 

History Ecclesiastical, the fourteenth chapter, and 

St. Jerome upon the tenth chapter of the prophet 

Jeremiah, who both expressly say, " That the error 

of images (for so St. Jerome calleth it,) hath come 

in and passed to the Christians from the Gentiles, 

by an heathenish use and custom." The cause and 

means Eusebius showeth, saying, " It is no marvel, 

if they which being Gentiles before, and did believe, 

seemed to offer this as a gift to our Saviour, for the 

benefits which they had received of him ; yea, and we 

do see now that images of Peter and Paul, and of our 

Saviour himself, be made, and tables to be painted, 

which methink to have been observed and kept in- 

diiferently by an heathenish custom. For the heathen 

are wont so to honour them whom they judged honour 

worthy, for that some tokens of old men should be 

kept. For the remembrance of posterity is a token of 

their honour that were before, and the love of those 

that come after." 

Thus far I have rehearsed Eusebius's words. Where 
note ye, that both St. Jerome and he agreeth herein, 
that these images came in amongst Christian men by 
such as were Gentiles, and accustomed to idols, and 
being converted to the faith of Christ, retained yet 
some remnants of gentility not throughly purged : 
for St. Jerome calleth it an error manifestly. And 
the like example we see in the Acts of the Apostles, 
of the Jews, who when they were converted to Christ, 
would have brought in their circumcision (where- 
unto they were so long accustomed,) with them into 
Christ's religion. Acts xv. With whom the apostles 

against Peril of Idolatry, 29 

(namely St. Paul) had much ado for the staying of 
that matter. But of circumcision was less marvel, 
for that it came first in by God's ordinance and 
commandment. A man may most justly wonder of 
images, so directly against God's holy word and strait 
commandment, how they should enter in. But images 
were not yet worshipped in Eusebius's time, nor pub- 
licly set up in churches and temples ; and they who 
privately had them did err of a certain zeal, and not 
by malice : but afterwards they crept out of private 
houses into churches, and so bred first superstition, 
and last of all idolatry amongst Christians, as here- 
after shall appear. 

In the time of Theodosius and Martian, empe- 
rors, who reigned about the year of our Lord 460, 
and 1100 years ago, when the people of the city of 
Nola once a year did celebrate the birth-day of St. 
Felix in the temple, and used to banquet there sump- 
tuously, Pontius Paulinus, Bishop of Nola, caused 
the walls of the temple to be painted with stories 
taken out of the Old Testament that the people 
beholding and considering those pictures, might the 
better abstain from too much surfeiting and riot. 
And about the same time Aurelius Prudentius, a 
very learned and Christian poet, declareth how he 
did see painted in a church the history of the passion 
of St. Cassian, a schoolmaster and martyr, whom 
his own scholars at the commandment of the tyrant, 
tormented with the pricking or stabbing in of their 
pointels or brazen pens, into his body, and so by a 
thousand wounds and more (as saith Prudentius,) 
most cruellv slew him. And these were the first 
paintings in churches that were notable of antiquity. 
And so by this example came in painting, and after- 
ward images of timber and stone, and other matter, 
into the churches of Christians. Now, an ye well 
consider this beginning, men are not so ready to 
worship a picture on a wall, or in a window, as an 
embossed and gilt image, set with pearl and stone. 


30 The Second Part of the Sermon 

And a process of a story, painted with the gestures 
and actions of many persons, and commonly the sum 
of the story written withal, hath another use in it, 
than one dumb idol or image standing by itself. But 
from learning by painted stories, it came by little 
and little to idolatry. Which when godly men (as 
well emperors and learned bishops as others,) per- 
ceived, they commanded that such pictures, images, 
or idols, should be used no more. And I will, for 
a declaration thereof, begin with the decree of the 
ancient Christian emperors, Valens and Theodosrus 
II., who reigned about four hundred years after our 
Saviour Christ's ascension, who forbade that any 
images should be made or painted privately : for 
certain it is, that there were none in temples pub- 
licly in their time. These emperors did vn:ite unto 
the captain of the army attending on the emperors, 
after this sort : " Valens and Theodosius, emperors, 
unto the captain of the army : Whereas we have a 
diligent care to maintain the religion of God above 
in all things, we will grant to no man to set forth, 
grave, carve, or paint the image of our Saviour 
Christ in colours, stone, or any other matter ; but in 
what place soever it shall be found, we command that 
it be taken away, and that all such as shall attempt any 
thing contrary to our decrees or commandment here- 
in, shall be most sharply punished." This decree is 
written in the books named Libri Augustales, the 
imperial books gathered by Tribonianus, Basilides, 
Theophilus, Dioscorus, and Satira, men of great 
authority and learning, at the commandment of the 
emperor Justinian; and is alleged by Petrus Crini- 
tus, a notable learned man, in the ninth book and 
ninth chapter of his work, entitled De Honestd Dis- 
ciplind, that is to say. Of honest learning. Here 
you see what Christian princes of most ancient times 
decreed against images, which then began to creep 
in amongst the Christians. For it is certain, that 
by the space of three hundred years, and more, after 

against Peril of Idolatry. 31 

the death of our Saviour Christ, and before these godly 
emperors reigned, there were no images publicly in 
churches or temples. How would the idolaters glory, 
if they had so much antiquity and authority for them, 
as is here against them. 

Now, shortly after these days, the Goths, Vandals, 
Huns, and other barbarous and wicked nations, 
burst into Italy, and all parts of the west countries 
of Europe with huge and mighty armies, spoiled 
all places, destroyed cities and burned libraries, so 
that learning and ti'ue religion went to wrack, and 
decayed incredibly. And so the bishops of those 
latter days being of less learning, and in the midst 
of the wars, taking less heed also than did the bishops 
afore, by ignorance of God's word, and negligence 
of bishops, and specially barbarous princes, not 
rightly instructed in true religion, bearing the rule, 
images came into the church of Christ in the said 
west parts, where these barbarous people ruled, not 
now in painted cloths only, but embossed in stone, 
timber, metal, and other like matter, and were not 
only set up, but began to be worshipped also. And 
therefore Serenus, bishop of Massile, the head town 
of Gallia Narbonensis, (now called the Province,) a 
godly and learned man, who was about six hundred 
years after our Saviour Christ, seeing the people, by 
occasion of images, fall to most abominable idolatry, 
brake to pieces all the images of Christ and saints, 
which were in that city, and was therefore com- 
plained upon to Gregory, the first of that name, 
bishop of Rome, who was the first learned bishop 
that did allow the open having of images in churches, 
that can be known by any writing or history of anti- 
quity. And upon this Gregory do all image-wor- 
shippers at this day ground their defence. But as 
all things that be amiss have from a tolerable begin- 
ning grown worse and worse, till they at the last 
became intolerable, so did this matter of images. 
First, men used privately stories painted in tables, 

B 4 

S2 The Second Part of the Sermon 

cloths, and walls. Afterwards gross and embossed 
images privately in their own houses. Then after- 
wards, pictures first, and after them, embossed 
images began to creep into churches, learned and 
godly men ever speaking against them. Then by 
use it w^as openly maintained, that they might be in 
churches ; but yet forbidden, that they should be 
worshipped. Of which opinion was Gregory, as by 
the said Gregory's epistle to the forenamed Serenus, 
Bishop of Massile, plainly appeareth. Which epistle 
is to be found in the book of epistles of Gregory, 
or Register, in the tenth part of the fourth epistle, 
where he hath these words : " That thou didst for- 
bid images to be worshipped, we praise altogether ; 
but that thou didst break them, we blame. For it 
is one thing to worship the picture, and another 
thing by the picture of the story to learn what is to 
be worshipped. For that which Scripture is to them 
that read, the same doth picture perform unto idiots, 
or the unlearned, beholding :" and so forth. And 
after a few words : " Therefore it should not have 
been broken, which was set up not to be worshipped 
in churches, but only to instruct the minds of the 
ignorant." And a little after : " Thus thou shouldest 
have said. If you will have images in the church for 
that instruction, wherefore they were made in old 
time, I do permit that they may be made, and that 
you may have them, and show them ; that not the 
sight of the story which is opened by the picture, 
but that worshipping, wliich was inconveniently 
given to the pictures, did mislike you. And if any 
would make images, not to forbid them, but avoid 
by all means to worship any image." By these sen- 
tences taken here and there out of Gregory's Epistle 
to Serenus, (for it were too long to rehearse the 
whole,) ye may understand whereunto the matter 
was now come, six hundred years after Christ : That 
the having of images or pictures in the churches 
were then maintained in the west part of the world, 

against Peril of Idolatry, 33 

(for they were not so forward yet in the East church,) 
but the worshipping of them was utterly forbidden. 
And you may withal note, that seeing there is no 
ground for worshipping of images in Gregory's writ- 
ing, but a plain condemnation thereof, that such as 
do worship images do unjustly allege Gregory for 
them. And further ; if images in the church do not 
teach men, according to Gregory's mind, but rather 
blind them ; it followeth, that images should not be 
in the church by his sentence, who only would they 
should be placed there, to the end that they might 
teach the ignorant. Wherefore, if it be declared, 
that images have been, and be worshipped ; and 
also, that they teach nothing but errors and lies, 
(which shall by God's grace hereafter be done ;) I 
trust that then, by Gregory's own determination, 
all images and image-worshippers shall be over- 
thrown. But in the mean season, Gregory's autho- 
rity was so great in all the West church, that by his 
encouragement men set up images in all places : but 
their judgment was not so good to consider, why he 
would have them set up, but they fell all on heaps 
to manifest idolatry, by worshipping of them, which 
Bishop Serenus (not without just cause,) feared would 
come to pass. Now if Serenus's judgment, thinking 
it meet that images, whereunto idolatry was com- 
mitted, should be destroyed, had taken place, ido- 
latry had been overthrown : for to that which is not, 
no man committeth idolatry. But of Gregory's opi- 
nion, thinking that images might be suffered in 
churches, so it were taught that they should not be 
worshipped ; what ruin of religion, and what mis- 
chief ensued afterward to all Christendom, expe- 
rience hath to our great hurt and sorrow proved. 
First, by the schism arising betvreen the East and 
the West church about the said images. Next, by 
the division of the empire into two parts, by the 
same occasion of images, to the great weakening of 
all Christendom ; whereby, last of all, hath followed 

B 5 

34 The Second Part of the Sermon 

the utter overthrow of the Christian religion and 
noble empire in Greece, and all the east parts of the 
world, and the increase of Mahomet's false religion, 
and the cruel dominion and tyranny of the Saracens 
and Turks, who do now hang over our necks also, that 
dwell in the west parts of the world, ready at all occa- 
sions to overrun us. And all this we do owe unto our 
idols and images, and our idolatry in worshipping of 

But now give you ear a little to the process of the 
history, wherein I do much follow the histories of 
Paulus Diaconus and others, joined with Eutropius, 
an old writer. Eutrop. Lib. de Rebus Rom. 2S. For 
though some of the authors were favourers of images, 
yet do they most plainly and at large prosecute the 
histories of those times, whom Baptist Platina also, 
in his history of Popes, as in the Lives of Constantine 
and Gregory II. bishops of Rome, and other places, 
(where he entreateth of this matter,) doth chiefly fol- 
low. Platina in Vitis Constantini et Greg, II. After 
Gregory's time, Constantine, bishop of Rome, as- 
sembled a council of bishops in the west church, and 
did condemn Philippicus, then emperor, and John, 
bishop of Constantinople, of the heresy of the Mono- 
thelites, not without a cause indeed, but very justly. 
When he had so done, by the consent of the learned 
about him, the said Constantine, bishop of Rome, 
caused the images of the ancient fathers, which had 
been at those six councils, which were allowed and 
received of all men, to be painted in the entry of 
St. Peter's church at Rome. When the Greeks 
had knowledge hereof, they began to dispute and 
reason the matter of images with the Latins, and 
held this opinion, that images could have no place 
in Christ's church ; and the Latins held the contrary, 
and took part with the images. So the east and 
west churches, which agreed evil before, upon this 
contention about images, fell to utter enmity, which 
was never well reconciled yet. But in the mean 

against Peril of Idolatry. 85 

season Philippicus and Artheraius, or Anastasius, 
emperors, commanded images and pictures to be 
pulled down, and razed out in every place of their 
dominion. After them came Theodosius III. ; he 
commanded the defaced images to be painted again 
in their places ; but this Theodosius reigned but one 
year. Leo, the third of that name, succeeded him ; 
who was a Syrian born, a very wise, godly, merciful, 
and valiant prince. This Leo by proclamation com- 
manded, that all images, set up in churches to be 
worshipped, should be plucked down and defaced : 
and required specially the bishop of Rome, that he 
should do the same : and himself, in the mean sea- 
son, caused all images that were in the imperial 
city Constantinople, to be gathered on an heap in 
the midst of the city, and there publicly burned 
them to ashes ; and whited over, and razed out all ■ 
pictures painted upon the walls of the temples ; 
and punished sharply divers maintainers of images. 
And when some did therefore report him to be a 
tyrant, he answered, " That such of all other were 
most justly punished, which neither worshipped God 
aright, nor regarded the imperial majesty and au- 
thority, but maliciously rebelled against wholesome 
and profitable laws." When Gregorius, the third of 
that name, bishop of Rome, heard of the emperor's 
doings in Greece concerning the images, he assembled 
a council of Italian bishops against him ; and there 
made decrees for images, and that more reverence 
and honour should yet be given to them than was 
before ; and stirred up the Italians against the empe- 
ror, first at Ravenna, and moved them to rebel- 
lion. And as Urspergensis and Antoninus, bishops 
of Florence, testify in their chronicles, he caused 
Rome and all Italy at the last to refuse Treason and 
their obedience, and the payment of any rebellion for the 
more tribute to the emperor ; and so ^lefence of ima- 
by treason and rebellion maintained ^^^* 
their idolatry. Which example other bishops of 


36 The Second Part of the Sermon 

Rome have continually followed, and gone through 
withal most stoutly. 

After this Leo, who reigned thirty-four years, 
succeeded his son Constantine V., who, after his 
father's example, kept images out of the temples ; 
and being moved with the council, which Gregory 
had assembled in Italy, for images against his father, 
he also assembled a council of all the learned men 
and bishops of Asia and Greece, although some 
writers place this council in Leo Jsauricus, his fa- 
ther's latter days. In this great as- 
ima7er'^'^''"'' sembly they sat in council from the 
fourth of the Idus of February, to the 
sixth of the Idus of August, and made concerning 
the use of images this decree : " It is not lawful for 
them, that believe in God through Jesus Christ, to 
have any images, neither of the Creator, nor of any 
creatures, set up in temples to be worshipped ; but 
rather that all images by the law of God, and for the 
avoiding of offence, ought to be taken out of the 
churches." And this decree was executed in all 
places, where any images were found in Asia or 
Greece. And the emperor sent the determination 
of this council, hoi den at Constantinople, to Paul, 
then bishop of Rome, and commanded him to cast 
all images out of the churches ; which he (trusting 
in the friendship of Pipin, a mighty prince,) re- 
fused to do. And both he and his successor Ste- 
phanus III. (who assembled another council in Italy 
for images,) condemned the emperor and the council 
of Constantinople of heresy ; and made a decree, 
" That the holy images (for so they called them,) of 
Christ, the blessed Virgin, and other saints, were 
indeed worthy honour and worshipping." When 
Constantine was dead, Leo IV., his son, reigned after 
him, who married a woman of the city of Athens, 
named Theodora, who also was called Irene or 
Eirene, by whom he had a son, named Constantine 
VI. and dying whilst his son v/as yet young, left the 

against Peril of Idolatry, 37 

regiment of the empire, and governance of his young 
son, to his wife Irene. These things were done in 
the church about the year of our Lord 760. Note 
here, I pray you, in this process of the story, that 
in the churches of Asia and Greece there were no 
images publicly by the space of almost seven hun- 
di'ed years. And there is no doubt but the primi- 
tive church next the apostles' times was most pure. 
Note also, that when the contention began about 
images, how of six Christian emperors, who were 
the chief magistrates by God's law to be obeyed, 
only one, which was Theodosius, wdio reigned but 
one year, held with images. All the other empe- 
rors, and all the learned men and bishops of the 
east church, and that in assembled councils, con- 
demned them, besides the tw^o emperors before-men- 
tioned, Valens and Theodosius II. who were long 
before these times, who straitly forbad that any 
images should be made. And universally after this 
time all the emperors of Greece (only Theodosius 
excepted,) destroyed continually all images. Now, 
on the contrary part, note ye, that the bishops of 
Rome, being no ordinary magistrates appointed of 
God, out of their diocese, but usurpers of princes' 
authority, contrary to God's word, were the main- 
tainers of images against God's word, and stirrers up 
of sedition and rebellion, and workers of continual 
treason against their sovereign lords, contrary to God's 
lav.', and the ordinances of all human laws, being not 
only enemies to God, but also rebels and traitors against 
their princes. These be the first bringers in of images 
openly into churches. These be the maintainers of 
them in the churches : and these be the means, 
whereby they have maintained them ; to wit, con- 
spiracy, treason, and rebellion against God and their 

Now to proceed in the history, most worthy to be 
known. In the nonage of Constantine VI. the em- 
press Irene, his mother, in whose hands the regi- 

38 The Second Part of the Sermon 

ment of the empire remained, was governed much by 
the advice of Theodore, bishop, and Tharasius, pa- 
triarch of Constantinople, who practised and held 
with the bishop of Rome in maintaining of images 
most earnestly. By whose counsel and entreaty, 
the empress first most wickedly digged up the body 
of her father-in-law Constantine V. and commanded 
it to be openly burned, and the ashes to be thrown 
into the sea. Which example (as the constant re- 
port goeth,) had like to have been put in practice 
with princes' corses in our days, had the authority 
of the holy father continued but a little longer. The 
cause why the empress Irene thus used her father- 
in-law was, for that he, when he was alive, had 
destroyed images, and had taken away the sumptu- 
ous ornaments of churches, saying, "that Christ, 
whose temples they were, allowed poverty, and not 
pearls and precious stones." Afterward the said 
Irene, at the persuasion of Adrian, bishop of Rome, 
and Paul, the patriarch of Constantinople, and his 
successor Tharasius, assembled a council of the 
bishops of Asia and Greece, at the city Nicea ; 
where the bishop of Rome's legates being presi- 
dents of the council, and ordering all things as they 
listed, the council, which were assembled before 
under the emperor Constantine V. and had decreed, 
that all images should be destroyed, was condemned 
A decree that ^s an heretical council and assembly ; 
images should be and a decree was made, that images 
worshipped. should be put up in all the churches of 
Greece ; and that honour and worship also should 
be given unto the said images. And so the empress, 
sparing no diligence in setting up of images, nor 
cost in decking them in all churches,, made Constan- 
tinople within a short time altogether like Rome 
itself. And now you may see that come to pass, 
which bishop Serenus feared, and Gregory I. forbade 
in vain ; to wit, that images should in no wise be 
worshipped. For now not only the simple and un- 

against Peril of Idolatry, 39 

wise, (unto whom images, as the Scriptures teach, 
be specially a snare,) but the bishops, and learned 
men also, fall to idolatry by occasion of images, yea, 
and make decrees and laws for the maintenance 
of the same. So hard is it, and indeed impossible 
any long time to have images publicly in churches 
and temples without idolatry, as by the space of little 
more than one hundred years betwixt Gregory I. 
forbidding most straitly the worshipping of images, 
and Gregory III., Paul, and Leo III., bishops of 
Rome, with this council, commanding and decreeing 
that images should be worshipped, most evidently 

Now when Constantine, the young emperor, came 
to the age of twenty years, he was daily in less and 
less estimation. For such as were about his mother 
persuaded her, that it was God's determination, that 
she should reign alone, and not her son with her. 
The ambitious woman, believing the same, deprived 
her son of all imperial dignity ; and compelled all 
the men of war, with their captains, to swear to her, 
that they would not suffer her son Constantine to 
reign during her life. With which indignity the 
young prince being moved, recovered the regiment of 
the empire unto himself by force ; and being brought 
up in true religion in his father's time, seeing the 
superstition of his mother Irene, and the idolatry com- 
mitted by images, cast down, brake, and burned all 
the idols and images that his mother had set up. But 
within a few years after, Irene, the empress, taken 
again into her son's favour, after she had persuaded 
him to put out Nicephorus his uncle's eyes, and to cut 
out the tongues of his four other uncles, and to for- 
sake his wife, and by such means to bring him into 
hatred with all his subjects ; now further to declare 
that she was no changeling, but the same woman that 
had before digged up and burned her father-in-law's 
body, and that she would be as natural a mother as 
she liad been a kind daughter, seeing the images, 

40 The Second Part of the Sermon 

which she loved so well, and had with so great cost 
set up, daily destroyed by her son, the emperor, by 
the help of certain good companions, deprived her son 
of the empire ; and first, like a kind and loving mother, 
put out both his eyes, and laid him in prison, where, 
after long and many torments, she at the last most 
cruelly slew him. 

In this history, joined to Eutropius, it is written, 
that the sun was darkened by the space of seventeen 
days most strangely and dreadfully, and that all 
men said, that for the horribleness of that cruel and 
unnatural fact of Irene, and the putting out of the 
emperor's eyes, the sun had lost his light. But, in- 
deed, God would signify, by the darkness of the 
sun, into what darkness and blindness of ignorance 
and idolatry Christendom should fall by the occasion 
of images. The bright sun of his eternal truth, and 
light of his holy word, by the mists and black clouds 
of men's traditions being blemished and darkened, 
as by sundry most terrible earthquakes, that hap- 
pened about the same time, God signified that the 
quiet estate of true religion should by such idolatry 
be most horribly tossed and turmoiled. And here 
may you see what a gracious and virtuous lady this 
Irene was, how loving a niece to her husband's uncles, 
how kind a mother-in-law to her son's wife, how lov- 
ing a daughter to her father-in-law, how natural a 
mother to her own son, and what a stout and valiant 
captain the bishops of Rome had of her, for the 
setting up and maintenance of their idols or images. 
Surely they could not have found a meeter patron for 
the maintenance of such a matter than this Irene, 
whose ambition and desire of rule was insatiable, 
whose treason, continually studied and wrought, was 
abominable, whose wicked and unnatural cruelty 

Eassed Medea and Progne, whose detestable parricides 
ave ministered matter to poets to write their horrible 

And yet certain historiographers, who do put in 

agahisi Peril of Idolatry, 41 

writing all these her horrible wickednesses, for love 
they had to images, which she maintained, do praise 
her as a godly empress, and as sent from God. Such 
is the blindness of false superstition, if it once take 
possession in a man's mind, that it will both declare 
the vices of wicked princes, and also commend them. 
But not long after, the said Irene being suspected to 
the princes and lords of Greece of treason, in alienat- 
ing the empire to Charles king of the Francons, and 
for practising a secret marriage between herself and 
the said king, and being convicted of the same, was by 
the said lords deposed and deprived again of the em- 
pire, and carried into exile into the island Lesbos, 
where she ended her lewd life. 

While these tragedies about images were thus 
working in Greece, the same question of the use of 
images in churches began to be moved in Spain 
also. And at Eliberi, a notable city, 
now called Granada, was a council of t^^Z^^ 
Spanish bishops and other learned men 
assembled ; and there, after long deliberation and de- 
bating of the matter, it was concluded at length by 
the whole council after this sort, in the thirty-sixth 

" \\'e think that pictures ought not Decrees of the 

to be in churches, lest that which is council against 
honoured or worshipped be painted on if^^g^s. 
walls." And in the forty-first canon of that coun- 
cil, it is thus written : " We thought good to ad- 
monish the faithful, that, as much as in them lieth, 
they suffer no images to be in their houses : but if 
they fear any violence of their servants, at the least 
let them keep themselves clean and pure from 
images ; if they do not so, let them be accounted as 
none of the church." Note here, I pray you, how a 
whole and great country in the west and south parts 
of Europe, nearer to Rome a great deal than to 
Greece in situation of place, do agree with the 

42 The Second Part of the Sermon 

Greeks against images, and do not only forbid them 
in churches, but also in private houses, and do 
excommunicate them that do the contrary : and 
another council of the learned men of Yet another 
all Spain, also called Concilium Tole- council against 
tanum Duodecimum, decreed and de- i"^^g6s- 
termined likewise against images and image-wor- 
shippers. But when these decrees of the Spanish 
council at Eliberi came to the knowledge of the 
bishop of Rome and his adherents, they, fearing 
lest all Germany also w^ould decree against images 
and forsake them, thought to prevent the matter, 
and by the consent and help of the prince of 
Francons (whose power was then most great in the 
west parts of the world) assembled a council of 
Germans at Frankfort, and there procured the 
Spanish council against images aforementioned to 
be condemned by the name of the Felician heresy, 
(for that Felix, bishop of Aquitania, was chief in 
that council,) and obtained that the acts of the 
second Nicene council assembled by Irene, (the 
holy empress, whom ye heard of before,) and the 
sentence of the bishop of Rome for images, might 
be received. For much after this sort do the 
Papists report of the history of the council of 
Frankfort. Notwithstanding the book of Carolus 
Magnus's own writing, as the title showeth, which is 
now put in print, and commonly in men's hands, 
showeth the judgment of that prince, and of the 
whole council of Frankfort also, to be against 
images, and against the second council of Nice, 
assembled by Irene for images ; and calleth it an 
arrogant, foolish, and ungodly council, and de- 
clareth the assembly of the council of Frankfort to 
have been directly made and gathered against that 
Nicene council, and the errors of the same. So 
that it must needs follow, that either there were in 
one prince's time two councils assembled at Frank- 

against Peril of Idolatry, 43 

fort, one contrary to the other, which by no history 

doth appear ; or else that after their custom the 

popes and papists have most shamefully corrupted 

the council, as their manner is to handle, not only 

councils, but also all histories and writings of the 

old doctors, falsifying and corrupting them for the 

maintenance of their wicked and ungodly purposes, 

as hath in times of late come to light, and doth in 

our days more and more continually appear most 

evidently. Let the forged gift of Con- m ^ ^ 

1 .1 11^^ .X The forffed 

stantme, and the notable attempt to o-ift of Constan- 

falsify the first Nicene council for the tine, &c. Nicene 
pope's supremacy, practised by popes J^°""?^!^^li^^ *^ 
in St. Augustine's time, be a witness 
hereof; which practice indeed had then taken effect, 
had not the diligence and wisdom of St. Augustine, 
and other learned and godly bishops in Afric, by 
their gi-eat labour and charges also, resisted and 
stopped the same. Now to come towards an end of 
this history, and to show you the principal point that 
came to pass by the maintenance of images. Whereas 
from Constantinus Magnus's time, until this day, all 
authority imperial and princely dominion of the 
empire of Rome remained continually in the right 
and possession of the emperors, who had their conti- 
nuance and seat imperial at Constantinople, the 
city royal. Leo the Third, then bishop of Rome, 
seeing the Greek emperors so bent against his gods 
of gold and silver, timber and stone, and having the 
king of the Francons or Frenchmen, named Charles, 
whose power was exceeding great in the west coun- 
tries, very applicable to his mind, for causes here- 
after appearing, under the pretence that they of 
Constantinople were for that matter of images 
under the pope's ban and curse, and therefore un- 
worthy to be emperors, or to bear rule, and for that 
the emperors of Greece, being far off, were not 
ready at a beck to defend the pope against the 
Lombards his enemies, and others with whom he 

44 The Second Part of the Sermon 

had variance : this Leo the Third, I say, attempted a 
thing exceeding strange and unheard of before, and 
of incredible boldness and presumption : for he, by 
his papal authority, doth translate the government of 
the empire and the crown and name imperial from 
the Greeks, and giveth it unto Charles the Great, 
king of the Francons, not without the consent of 
the forenamed Irene, empress of Greece, who also 
sought to be joined in marriage with the said Charles. 

These thinas -^^^' ^^^ which cause the said Irene was 
were done about by the lords of Greece deposed and 
the year of our banished, as one that had betrayed the 

°^ ' empire, as ye before have heard. And 

the said princes of Greece did, after the deprivation 
of the said Irene, by common consent, elect and 
create, as they always had done, an emperor named 
Nicephorus, whom the bishop of Rome, and they 
of the West, would not acknowledge for their em- 
peror ; for they had already created them another, 
and so there became two emperors. And the em- 
pire, which was before one, was divided into two 
parts, upon occasion of idols and images, and the 
worshipping of them : even as the kingdom of the 
Israelites was in old time, for the like cause of idola- 
try, divided in king Rehoboam's time. And so the 
bishop of Rome having the favour of Charles the 
Great by this means assured to him, was won- 
drously enhanced in power and authority, and did in 
all the West church, especially in Italy, what he lust, 
where images were set up, garnished, and worshipped 
of all sorts of men. But images were not so fast set 
up, and so much honoured in Italy and the W^est, 
but Nicephorus, emperor of Constantinople, and his 
^ ^ . successor Scauratius, the two Michaels, 

Ur, Stauratms. t rr>i i -i i i.i 

Leo, Ineophilus, and other emperors, 

their successors in the empire of Greece, continu- 
ally pulled them down, brake them, burned them, 
and destroyed them as fast. And when Theodo- 
rus, emperor, would at the council of Lyons have 

against Peril of Idolatry^ 45 

agreed with the bishop of Rome, and have set up 
images, he was by the nobles of the empire of Greece 
deprived, and another chosen in his place ; and so 
rose a jealousy, suspicion, grudge, hatred, and en- 
mity between the Christians and empires of the East 
countries and West, which could never be quenched 
nor pacified. So that when the Saracens first, and 
afterward the Turks, invaded the Christians, the one 
part of Christendom would not help the other. By 
reason whereof at the last, the noble empire of Greece, 
and the city imperial Constantinople, was lost, and is 
come into the hands of the infidels, who now have 
overrun almost all Christendom, and possessing past 
the middle of Hungary, which is part of the West 
empire, do hang over all our heads, to the utter danger 
of all Christendom. 

Thus we see what a sea of mischiefs the mainte- 
nance of images hath brought with it ; what an hor- 
rible schism between the East and the West church ; 
what an hatred between one church and another ; 
councils against councils, church against church, 
christians against christians, princes against princes, 
rebellions, treasons, unnatural and most cruel mur- 
ders ; the daughter digging up and burning her 
father the emperor's body ; the mother, for love of 
idols, most abominably murdering her own son, 
being an emperor : at the last, the tearing in sunder 
of Christendom and the empire into two pieces, till 
the infidels, Saracens and Turks, common enemies 
to both parts, have most cruelly vanquished, destroy- 
ed, and subdued the one part, the whole empire of 
Greece, Asia the Less, Thracia, Macedonia, Epirus, 
and many other great and goodly countries and pro- 
vinces, and have won a great piece of the other em- 
pire, and put the whole in dreadful fear and most 
horrible danger. For it is not without a just and 
great cause to be dreaded, lest as the empire of 
Rome was even for the like cause of images, and 
the worshipping of them, torn in pieces and divided, 

46 The Second Part of the Sermon 

as was for idolatry the kingdom of Israel in old time 
divided : so like punishment, as for the like offence 
fell upon the Jews, will also light upon us : that is, 
lest the cruel tyrant, and enemy of our commonwealth 
and religion, the Turk, by God's just vengeance, in 
likewise partly murder, and partly lead away into 
captivity us Christians, as did the Assyrian and Baby- 
lonian kings murder and lead away the Israelites ; 
and lest the empire of Rome and Christian religion be 
so utterly brought under foot, as was then the king- 
dom of Israel and true religion of God, whereunto the 
matter already (as I have declared) shrewdly inclineth 
on our part, the greater part of Christendom, within 
less than three hundred years' space, being brought 
into captivity and most miserable thraldom under the 
Turk, and the noble empire of Greece clean everted. 
Whereas, if the Christians, divided by those image- 
matters, had holden together, no infidels and mis- 
creants could thus have prevailed against Christen- 
dom. And all this mischief and misery, which we 
have hitherto fallen into, do we owe to our mighty 
gods of gold and silver, stock and stone, in whose help 
and defence (where they cannot help themselves) we 
have trusted so long, until our enemies the infidels 
have overcome and overrun us almost altogether. A 
just reward for those that have left the mighty living 
God, the Lord of Hosts, and have stooped and given 
the honour due to him to dead blocks and stocks, who 
have eyes and see not, ears and hear not, feet and can- 
not go, and so forth, and are cursed of God, and all 
they that make them, and that put their trust in them. 
Thus you understand, well-beloved in our Saviour 
Christ, by the judgment of the old learned and godly 
doctors of the church, and by ancient histories eccle- 
siastical, agreeing to the verity of God's word, alleged 
out of the Old Testament and the New, that images 
and image-worshipping were in the primitive church 
(which was most pure and uncorrupt) abhorred and 
detested, as abominable and contrary to true Christian 

against Peril of Idolatry. 47 

religion. And that when images began to creep into 
the church, they were not only spoken and written 
against by godly and learned bishops, doctors, and 
clerks, but also condemned by whole councils of 
bishops and learned men assembled together ; yea, 
the said images by many Christian emperors and 
bishops were defaced, broken, and destroyed, and that 
above seven hundred and eight hundred years ago, 
and that therefore it is not of late days (as some would 
bear you in hand) that images and image-worshipping 
have been spoken and written against. Finally, you 
have heard v/hat mischief and misery hath by the 
occasion of the said images fallen upon whole Christen- 
dom, besides the loss of infinite souls, which is most 
horrible of all. Wherefore let us beseech God, that 
v/e, being warned by his holy word, forbidding all 
idolatry, and by the writings of old godly doctors, and 
ecclesiastical histories, written and preserved by God's 
ordinance for our admonition and warning, may flee 
from all idolatry, and so escape the horrible punish- 
ment and plagues, as well worldly as everlasting, 
threatened for the same, which God our heavenly 
Father grant us, for our only Saviour and Mediator, 
Jesus Christ's sake. Ameji. 

The Tliird Part of the Homily against Images, and 
the Worshipping of them, containing the Confu- 
tation of the principal Arguments ivJiich are used 
to be wade for the Maintenance of Images. Which 
Part may serve to instruct the Curates themselves, 
or Men of good Understanding. 

Now ye have heard how plainly, how vehemently, 
and that in many places, the Word of God speaketh 
against not only idolatry and worshipping of images, 
but also against idols and images themselves : (I 

48 The Third Part of the Ser7non 

mean always thus herein, in that we be stirred and 
provoked by them to worship them, and not as though 
they were simply forbidden by the New Testament 
without such occasion and danger.) And ye have 
heard likewise out of histories ecclesiastical, the begin- 
ning, proceeding, and success of idolatry by images, 
and the great contention in the church of Christ about 
them, to the great trouble and decay of Christendom. 
And withal ye have heard the sentences of old ancient 
fathers, and godly learned doctors and bishops, against 
images and idolatry, taken out of their own writings. 
It remaineth, that such reasons as be made for the 
maintenance of images, and excessive painting, gild- 
ing, and decking, as well of them as of the temples 
or churches, also be answered and confuted, partly 
by application of some places before alleged to their 
reasons, and partly by otherwise answering the same. 
AMiich part hath the last place in this treatise, for 
that it cannot be well understood of the meaner 
sort, nor the arguments of image-maintainers can, 
without prolixity too much tedious, be answered 
without the knowledge of the treatise going before. 
And although divers things before mentioned be 
here rehearsed again, yet this repetition is not super- 
fluous, but in a manner necessary, for that the simple 
sort cannot else understand how the foresaid places 
are to be applied to the arguments of such as do 
maintain images, wherewith otherwise they might be 

First it is alleged by them that maintain images, 
that all laws, prohibitions, and curses, noted by us 
out of the holy Scripture, and sentences of the 
doctors also by us alleged against images and the 
worshipping of them, appertain to the idols of the 
Gentiles or Pagans, as the idol of Jupiter, Mars, 
Mercury, &c. and not to our images of God, of 
Christ, and his saints. But it shall be declared, both 
by God's word, and the sentences of the ancient 
doctors, and judgment of the primitive church, that 

against Peril of Idolatry, 49 

all images, as well ours as the idols of the Gentile, 
be forbidden and unlawful, namely, in churches and 
temples. And first this is to be replied out of God's 
word, that the images of God the Father, the bon, 
and the Holy Ghost, either severally or the images 
of the Trinity, which we had in every church, be by 
the Scriptures expressly and directly forbidden and 
condemned, as appeareth by these places : The 
Lord spake unto you out of the middle of fire : 
you heard the voice or sound of his words, but you 
did see no form or shape at all, lest peradventure 
you, being deceived, should make to yourself any 
graven image or likeness ; Deut. iv. and so forth, as 
is at large rehearsed in the first part of this treatise 
aofainst images. And therefore in the old Law, the 
middle of the propitiatory, which presented God's 
seat, was empty, lest any should take occasion to 
make any similitude or likeness of him. Isaiah, 
after he hath set forth the incomprehensible majesty 
of God, he asKeth, To whom then will ye make God 
like ? or what siinilitude will ye set up unto him ? 
Shall the carver make him a carved image ? And 
shall the goldsmith cover him with gold, or cast him 
into a form of silver plates ? And for the poor man, 
shall the image-maker frame an image of timber, 
that he may have somewhat to set up also ? And after 
this he crieth out ; O wretches, lieard ye never of 
this ? Hath it not been preached to you since the be- 
ginning, how by the creation of the world, and the 
greatness of the work, tJiey might understand the 
majesty of God, the Maker and Creator of all, to be 
greater than that it could be expressed or set forth 
in any image or bodily similitude ? Isa. xl. Thus 
far the Prophet Isaiah, who, from the forty-fourth 
chapter to the forty-ninth, treateth in a manner of 
no other thing. And St. Paul, in the Acts of the 
Apostles, evidently teacheth the same, that no simi- 
litude can be made unto God, in gold, silver, stone, or 
any other matter. Acts xvii. i3y these and many 
[yyU^ c 

50 The TJiird Part of the Sermon 

other places of Scripture it is evident, that no image 
either ought or can be made unto God. For how 
can God, a most pure spirit, whom man never saw, 
be expressed by a gross, bodily, and visible simili- 
tude ? How can the infinite majesty and greatness 
of God, incomprehensible to man's mind, much 
more not able to be compassed with the sense, be 
expressed in a small and little image ? How can a 
dead and dumb image express the living God? 
What can an image, which, when it is fallen, cannot 
rise up again, which can neither help his friends, nor 
hurt his enemies, express of the most puissant and 
mighty God, who alone is able to reward his friends, 
and to destroy his enemies everlastingly ? A man 
might justly cry with the prophet Habakkuk, Shall 
such images instruct or teach any thing right of 
God ? Habak. ii. or shall they become doctors ? 
Wherefore men that have made an image of God, 
whereby to honour him, have thereby dishonoured 
him most highly, diminished his majesty, blemished 
his glory, and falsified his truth. And therefore 
St. Paul saith, that such as have framed any simili- 
tude or image of God, like a mortal man, or any 
other likeness, in timber, stone, or other matter, 
have changed his truth into a lie. Rom. i. For both 
they thought it to be no longer that which it was, a 
stock or a stone, and took it to be that which it was 
not, as God, or an image of God. W^herefore an 
image of God is not only a lie, but a double lie also. 
But the Devil is a liar, and the father of lies : 
John viii. wherefore the lying images, which be made 
of God, to his great dishonour, and horrible danger of 
his people, came from the Devil. 

Wherefore they be convict of foolishness and 
wickedness in making of images of God or the 
Trinity, for that no image of God ought or can be 
made, as by the Scriptures and good reason evi- 
dently appeareth : yea, and once to desire an image 
of God, Cometh of infidelity, thinking not God to 

against Peril of Idolatry, 51 

be present, except they might see some sign or 
image of him, as appeareth by the Hebrews in the 
wilderness, willing Aaron to make them gods, whom 
they might see go before them. Where they object, 
that seeing in Isaiah and Daniel be certain descrip- 
tions of God, as sitting on a high seat, &c. why 
may not a painter likewise set him forth in colours 
to be seen, as it were a judge sitting in a throne, as 
well as he is described in writing by the prophets, 
seeing that Scripture, or writing, and picture differ 
but a little ? First it is to be answered, that things 
forbidden by God's word, as painting of images of 
God, and things permitted of God, as such de- 
scriptions used of the prophets, be not all one : 
neither ought, nor can man's reason (although it 
show never so goodly) prevail any thing against 
God's express word, and plain statute-law, as I may 
well term it. Furthermore, the Scripture, although 
it have certain descriptions of God, yet if you read 
on forth, it expoundeth itself, declaring that God is 
a pure spirit, infinite, who replenisheth heaven and 
eaith, which the picture doth not, nor expoundeth 
itself, but rather, when it hath set God forth in a 
bodily similitude, leaveth a man there, and will 
easily bring one into the heresy of the Anthropomor- 
phites, thinking God to have hands and feet, and to 
sit as a man doth : which they that do (saith St. 
Augustine in his book, De Fide et Symbolo, cap vii.) 
fall into that sacrilege, which the Apostle detesteth 
in those who have changed the glory of the incor- 
ruptible God into the similitude of a corruptible man. 
For it is wickedness for a Christian to erect such an 
image to God in a temple, and much more wicked- 
ness to erect such an one in his heart, by believing 
of it. But to this they reply, that, this reason not- 
withstanding, images of Christ may be made, for 
that he took upon him flesh, and became man. It 
were well that they would first grant, that they have 
hitherto done most wickedly, in making and main- 


52 The Third Part of the Sermon 

taining of images of God and of the Trinity in 
every place, whereof they are by force of God's 
word and good reason convicted ; and then to descend 
to the trial for other images. 

Now concerning their objection, that an image of 
Christ may be made, the answer is easy ; for in God's 
word and religion, it is not only required whether a 
thing may be done or no ; but also, whether it be 
lawful and agreeable to God's word to be done or 
no. For all wickedness may be and is daily done, 
which yet ought not to be done. And the words of 
the reasons above alleged out of the Scriptures are, 
that images neither ought nor can be made unto 
God. Wherefore to reply, that images of Christ may 
be made, except withal it be proved that it is lawful 
for them to be made, is, rather than to hold one's 
peace, to say somewhat, but nothing to the purpose. 
And yet it appeareth that no image can be made of 
Christ, but a lying image, (as the Scripture pecu- 
liarly calleth images lies,) for Christ is God and man. 
Rom. i. Seeing therefore, that for the Godhead, 
which is the most excellent part, no images can be 
made, it is falsely called the image of Christ. Where- 
fore images of Christ be not only defects, but also 
lies. Which reason serveth also for the images of 
saints, whose souls, the most excellent parts of 
them, can by no images be presented and expres- 
sed. Wherefore they be no images of saints, whose 
souls reign in joy with God, but of the bodies of 
saints, which as yet lie putrified in the graves. Fur- 
thermore, no true image can be made of Christ's 
body, for it is unknov/n now of what form and 
countenance he was. And there be in Greece and 
at Rome, and in other places, divers images of Christ, 
and none of them like to other; and yet every of 
them affirmeth, that theirs is the true and lively 
image of Christ, which cannot possibly be. Where- 
fore, as soon as an image of Christ is made, by and 
by is a lie made of him, which by God's word is 

against Peril of Idolatry. 53 

forbidden. Which also is true of the images of anv 
saints of antiquity, for that it is unknown of what 
form and countenance they were. Wherefore seeing 
that religion ought to be gi'ounded upon truth, 
images, which cannot be without lies, ought not to 
be made, or put to any use of religion, or to be 
placed in churches and temples, places peculiarly 
appointed to true religion and service of God. And 
thus much, that no true image of God, our Saviour 
Christ, or his saints, can be made : wherewithal 
is also confuted that their allegation, that images be 
the laymen's books. For it is evident, by that which 
is afore rehearsed, that they teach no things of God, 
of our Saviour Christ, and of his saints, but lies and 
errors. Wherefore, either they be no books, or, if 
they be, they be false and lying books, the teachers 
of all error. 

And now if it should be admitted and granted, 
that an image of Christ should truly be made, yet 
it is unlawful that it should be made, yea, or that 
the image of any saint should be made, specially to 
be set up in temples, to the gi'eat and unavoidable 
danger of idolatry, as hereafter shall be proved. 
And first concerning the image of Christ, that 
though it might be had truly, yet it were unlawful 
to have it in churches publicly, is a notable place in 
Irenasus, hih. i. c. 24. who reproved the heretics, 
called Gnostici, for that they carried about the 
image of Christ, made truly after his own propor- 
tion in Pilate's time, (as they said,) and therefore 
more to be esteemed than those lying images of 
him, which we now have. The which Gnostici also 
used to set garlands upon the head of the said 
image, to show their affection to it. — But to go to 
God's word. Be not, I pray you, the words of the 
Scripture plain ? beware lest thou, being deceived, 
make to thyself (to say, to any use of religion) anij 
graven image, or any similitude of any thing, S^^c. 
And cursed he the man that maketh a i^raven or 

c3 * 

54 The Third Part of the Sermon 

molten image, abomination before the Lord^ ^c. 
Levit. xxvi. Deut. v. Sculptile, Fusile. Similitiido. 
Deut. xxvii. Be not our images such ? Be not our 
images of Christ and his saints either carved, or 
molten, or cast, or similitudes of men and women ? 
It is happy that we have not followed the Gentiles 
in making of images of beasts, fishes, and vermins 
also. Notwithstanding the image of an horse, as 
also the image of the ass that Christ rode on, have 
in divers places been brought into the church and 
temple of God. And is not that which is written 
in the beginning of the Lord's most holy law, and 
daily read unto you, most evidently also ? Thou shalt 
not make any likeness of any thing in heaven above, 
in earth beneath, or in the water under the earth, Sfc, 
Exod. XX. Could any more be forbidden and said 
than this ; either of the kinds of images, which be 
either carved, molten, or otherwise similitudes ; or 
of things, whereof images are forbidden to be made ? 
Are not all things either in heaven, earth, or water 
under the earth ? And be not our images of Christ 
and his saints likenesses of things in heaven, earth, 
or in the water? If they continue in their former 
answer, that these prohibitions concern the idols of 
the Gentiles and not our images ; first, that answer 
is already confuted, concerning the images of God 
and the Trinity, at large, and concerning the images 
of Christ also, by Irenaeus. And that the law of 
God is likewise to be understood against all our 
images, as well of Christ as his saints, in temples 
and churches, appeareth further by the judgment of 
the old doctors, and the primitive church. Epipha- 
nius renting a painted cloth, wherein was the pic- 
ture of Christ, or of some saint, affirming it to be 
against our religion, that any such image should be 
had in the temple or church, (as is before at large 
declared,) judged, that not only idols of the Gen- 
tiles, but that all images of Christ and his saints 
also, were forbidden by God's word and our religion. 

against Peril of Idolatry. 55 

Lactantius affirming it to be certain, that no true 
religion can be where any image or picture is, (as is 
before declared,) judged that as well all images and 
pictures, as the idols of the Gentiles, were forbidden, 
else would he not so generally have spoken and pro- 
nounced of them. And St. Augustine (as is before 
alleged) gi'eatly allov»'eth M. Varro, affirming that re- 
ligion is most pure without images : Lib. iv. c. 3. De 
Civ. Deiy and saith himself. Images be of more force 
to crook an unhappy soul, than to teach and instruct 
it. And he saith further. Every child, yea, every 
beast knoweth that it is not God that they see. In 
Psalm xxxvi. and cxiii. Wherefore then doth the 
Holy Ghost so often admonish us of that which all 
men know ? W hereunto St. Augustine answereth 
thus : For, saith he, when images are placed in tem- 
ples, and set in honourable sublimity, and begin once 
to be worshipped, forthwith breedeth the most vile 
affection of error. This is St. Augustine's judgment 
of images in churches that by and by they breed 
error and idolatry. The Christian emperors, the 
learned bishops, all the learned men of Asia, Greece, 
and Spain, assembled in councils at Constantinople 
and in Spain seven and eight hundred years ago, 
and more, condemning and destroying all images, as 
well of Christ as of the saints, set up by the Christ- 
ians, (as is before at large declared,) testify, that 
they understood God's word so, that it forbad our 
images, as well as the idols of the Gentiles. And 
as it is written, Wisd. xiv. that images were not 
from the beginning, neither shall they continue to 
the end : so were they not in the beginning in the 
primitive church, God grant they may in the end 
be destroyed. For all Christians in the primitive 
church, as Origen against Celsus, Cyprian also, and 
Arnobius do testify, were sore charged and com- 
plained on, that they had no altars nor images. 
Origen cont. Celsuin, 1. iv. et viii. Cyprianiis contra 
Demetriiim. Wherefore did they not, I pray you, 

c 4 

56 The Third Part of the Sermon 

conform themselves to the Gentiles in making of 
images, but for lack of them sustained their heavy 
displeasure, if they had taken it to be lawful by 
God's word to have images ? It is evident, there- 
fore, that they took all images to be unlawful in the 
church or temple of God, and therefore had none, 
(though the Gentiles therefore were most highly 
displeased,) following this rule, We must obey God 
rather than men. Acts v. And Zephyrius, in his 
notes upon the Apology of Tertullian, gathereth, 
that all his vehement persuasion should be but cold, 
except we know this once for all, that Christian men 
in his time did most hate images, with their orna- 
ments. And Irenasus (as is above declared) re- 
proveth the heretics called Gnostici, for that they 
carried about the image of Christ. And therefore 
the primitive church, which is specially to be fol- 
lowed, as most incorrupt and pure, had publicly in 
churches neither idols of the Gentiles, nor any other 
images, as things directly forbidden by God's word. 
And thus it is declared by God's word, the sentences 
of the doctors, and the judgment of the primitive 
church, which was most pure and sincere, that all 
images, as well ours as the idols of the Gentiles, be by 
God's word forbidden, and therefore unlawful, special- 
ly in temples and churches. 

Now if they (as their custom is) flee to this an- 
swer, that God's word forbiddeth not absolutely all 
images to be made, but that they should not be 
made to be worshipped ; and that therefore we may 
have images, so we worship them not, for that they 
be things indifferent, which may be abused, or well 
used. Which seemeth also to be the judgment of 
Damascene and Gregory I. as is above declared. 
Damas, 1. iv. de Fide Orth. c. 17. Greg, in Epist. ad 
Serenum MassiL And this is one of their chief allega- 
tions for the maintenance of images, which have been 
alleged since Gregory the First's time. 

Well then we be come to their second allegation, 

against Peril of Idolatry, 57 

which in part we would not stick to grant them. 
For we are not so superstitious, or scrupulous, that 
we do abhor either flowers wTought in carpets, 
hangings, and other arras ; either images of princes, 
printed or stamped in their coins, which when 
Christ did see in a Roman coin, we read not that 
he reprehended it; neither do we condemn the 
arts of painting and image-making, as wicked of 
themselves. But we would admit and grant them, 
that images used for no religion, or superstition 
rather, we mean images of none worshipped, nor 
in danger to be worshipped of any, may be suffered. 
But images placed publicly in temples cannot pos- 
sibly be without danger of worshipping and idolatry, 
wherefore they are not publicly to be had or suffered 
in temples and churches. The Jews, to whom this 
law was first given ; (and yet being a moral com- 
mandment and not ceremonial, as all doctors interpret 
it, bindeth us as well as them :) the Jews, I say, 
vv'ho should have the true sense and meaning of God's 
law, so peculiarly given unto them, neither had in 
the beginning any images publicly in their temple, 
(as Origen and Josephus at large declare,) neither, 
after the restitution of the temple, would by any 
means consent to Herod, Pilate, or Petronius, that 
images should be placed only in the temple at 
Jeiiisalem, although no worshipping of images was 
required at their hands, but rather offered themselves 
to the death, than to assent that images should once 
be placed in the temple of God ; neither would they 
suffer any image-maker among them. Origen cont. 
Celsum, 1. iv. Joseph. A?itiq. 1. xvii. c. 8. 1. xviii. 
c. 5. 1. xviii. c. 15. And Origen added this cause, 
lest their minds should be plucked fi'om God, to 
the contemplation of earthly things. And they are 
much commxcnded for this earnest zeal, in maintain- 
ing of God's honour and true religion. And truth 
it is, that the Jews and Turks, who abhor images 
and idols, as directly forbidden by God's word, will 

c 5 

5S 27ie Third Part of the Sermon 

never come to the truth of our religion, whilst the 
stumbling blocks of images remain amongst us, and 
lie in their way. If they object yet the brazen 
serpent, which Moses did set up, or the images of 
the cherubims, or any other images which the Jews 
had in their temple, the answer is easy: We must 
in religion obey God's general law, which bindeth 
all men, and not follow examples of particular dis- 
pensation, which be no warrants for us ; else we may 
hy the same reason resume circumcision and sacri- 
ficing of beasts, and other rites permitted to the 
Jews. Neither can those images of cherubims, set 
in secret where no man might come, nor behold, 
be any example for our public setting up of images, 
in churches and temples. But to let the Jews 
go. Where they say that images, so they be not 
worshipped, as things indifferent may be toler- 
able in temples and churches ; we infer and say 
for the adversative, that all our images of God, our 
Saviour Christ, and his saints, publicly set up in 
temples and churches, places peculiarly appointed 
to the true worshipping of God, be not things in- 
different, nor tolerable, but against God's law and 
commandment, taking their own interpretation and 
exposition of it. 

First, for that all images, so set up publicly, have 
been worshipped of the unlearned and simple sort 
shortly after they have been publicly so set up, and 
in conclusion, of the wise and learned also. 

Secondly, for that they are worshipped in sundry 
places now in our time also. 

And thirdly, for that it is impossible that images 
of God, Christ, or his saints, can be suffered (espe- 
cially in temples and churches) any while or space, 
without worshipping of them ; and that idolatry, 
which is most abominable before God, cannot possi- 
bly be escaped and avoided, without the abolishing 
and destruction of images and pictures in temples 
and churches, for that idolatry is to images, spe- 

against Peril of Idolatry, 59 

cially in temples and churches, an inseparable acci- 
dent, (as they term it ;) so that images in churches 
and idolatry go always both together, and that there- 
fore the one cannot be avoided, except the other, 
specially in all public places, be destroyed. Where- 
fore, to make images, and publicly to set them up in 
the temples and churches, places appointed peculiarly 
to the service of God, is to make images to the use of 
religion, and not only against this precept, Thou shall 
make no manner of images ; but against this also. 
Thou shall not bow doivn to them, nor worship them. 
For they being set up, have been, be, and ever will 
be worshipped. And the full proof of that which in 
the beginning of the first part of this treatise was 
touched, is here to be made and performed ; to wit, 
that our images and idols of the Gentiles be all one, 
as well in the things themselves, as also in that our 
images have been before, be now, and ever will be 
worshipped, in like form and manner, as the idols of 
the Gentiles were worshipped, so long as they be 
suffered in churches and temples. Whereupon it fol- 
loweth, that our images in churches have been, be, 
and ever will be, none other but abominable idols, 
and be therefore no things indifferent. And every of 
these parts shall be proved in order, as hereafter fol- 

And first, that our images and the simulachraeen- 
idols of the Gentiles be all one con- tium, argentum 
cerning themselves, is most evident, et aurum. Fu- 
the matter of them being gold, silver, ^ile, simiiitudo, 

- 11 sculptile, simu- 

or Other metal, stone, wood, clay, or lachrum opera 
plaster, as were the idols of the Gen- manuum homi- 
tiles ; and so being either molten or ^^^' 
cast, either carved, graven, hewn, or otherwise 
formed and fashioned after the similitude and like- 
ness of man or woman, be dead and dumb works 
of man's hands, having mouths and speak not, eyes 
and see not, hands and feel not, feet and go not, and 
so, as well in form as matter, be altogether like the 


60 The Third Part of the Sermon 

idols of the Gentiles. Insomuch that all the titles, 
which be given to the idols in the Scriptures, may be 
verified of our images. Wherefore, no doubt but the 
like curses which are mentioned in the Scriptures 
will light upon the makers and worshippers of them 
both. Secondly, that they have been and be worship- 
ped in our time, in like form and manner as were the 
idols of the Gentiles, is now to be proved. And for 
that idolatry standeth chiefly in the mind, it shall in 
this part first be proved, that our image-maintainers 
have had, and have the same opinions and judgment 
of saints, whose images they have made and worship- 
ped, as the Gentiles idolaters had of their gods. And 
afterwards shall be declared, that our image-main- 
tainers and worshippers have used and use the same 
outward rites and manner of honouring and worship- 
ping their images, as the Gentiles did use before their 
idols ; and that therefore they commit idolatry, as well 
inwardly and outwardly, as did the wicked Gentiles 

And concerning the first part of the idolatrous 

opinions of our image-maintainers. What, I pray 

you, be such saints with us, to v/hom we attribute 

the defence of certain countries, spoiling God of his 

.. due honour herein, but Dii Tutelares of 

the Gentiles idolaters ? Such as were 

Belus to the Babylonians and Assyrians, Osiris and 

Tsis to the Egyptians, Vulcan to the Lemnians, and 

to such other. What be such saints, to whom the 

. . , safeguard of certain cities are appointed, 

but Dii Prsesides, with the Gentiles ido- 
laters ? Such as were at Delphos, Apollo ; at Athens, 
Minerva ; at Carthage, Juno ; at Rome, Quirinus, &c. 
What be such saints, to whom, contrary to the use 
of the primitive church, temples and churches be 
.. . builded, and altars erected, but Dii Pa- 

troni of the Gentiles idolaters ? Such 
as were in the Capitol, Jupiter ; in Paphus temple, 
Venus ; in Ephesus temple, Diana ; and such like. 


against Peril of Idolatry. 61 

Alas, we seem in thus thinking and doing to have 
learned our religion, not out of God's word, but 
out of the Pagan poets, who say, Excessere omnes 
adytis, arisque relictis, Dii, qidbiis imperium hoc 
steterat, S^'c. That is to say. All the gods by whose 
defence this empire stood, are gone out of the temples, 
and have forsaken their altars. And where one saint 
liath images in divers places, the same saint hath di- 
vers names thereof, most like to the Gentiles. When 
you hear of our lady of Walsingham, our lady of Ips- 
wich, our lady of Wilsdon, and such other ; what is it 
but an imitation of the Gentiles idolaters ? Diana 
Agrotera, Diana Coryphea, Diana Ephesia, &c. Venus 
Cypria, Venus Paphia, Venus Gnidia. Whereby is 
evidently meant, that the saint for the image sake 
should in those places, yea, in the images themselves, 
have a dwelling, which is the ground of their ido- 
latry. For where no images be, they have no such 
means. Terentius Varro showeth, that there were 
three hundred Jupiters in his time : there were no 
fewer Veneres and Dianae : we had no fewer Chris- 
tophers, Ladies, and Mary Magdalens, and other 
saints. CEnomaus and Hesiodus show, that in their 
time there were thirty thousand gods. I think we 
had no fewer saints to whom we gave the honour 
due to God. And they have not only spoiled the 
true living God of his due honour in temples, cities, 
countries, and lands, by such devices and inventions, 
as the Gentiles idolaters have done before them : 
but the sea and waters have as well special saints 
with them, as they had gods with the Gentiles, Nep- 
tune, Triton, Nereus, Castor and Pollux, Venus, 
and such other : in whose places be come St. Chris- 
topher, St. Clement, and divers other, and specially 
our Lady, to whom shipmen sing Ave^ maris stella. 
Neither hath the lire scaped the idolatrous inven- 
tions. For instead of Vulcan and Vesta, the Gentiles' 
gods of the fire, our men have placed St. Agatha, and 
make letters on her day for to quench fire with. Every 

62 The Third Part of the Sermon 

artificer and profession hath his special saint, as a 
pecuhar god. As for example, scholars have St. Ni- 
cholas and St. Gregory ; painters, St. Luke ; neither 
lack soldiers their Mars, nor lovers their Venus, 
amongst Christians. All diseases have their special 
saints, as gods thecurers of them ; the pocks St. Roche, 
the falling-evil St. Cornelius, the tooth-ache St. Apol- 
lin, &c. Neither do beasts and cattle lack their gods 
with us ; for St. Loy is the horse-leech, and St. An- 
thony the swine-herd, &c. Where is God's provi- 
dence and due honour in the mean season? who 
saith, The heavens be 7nine, and the earth is mine, 
the whole ivorld, and all that in it is ; I do give vic- 
tory, and I put to flight: of me be all counsels and 
help, §'c. Except I keep the city, in vain doth he 
watch that keepeth it : Thou Lord, shalt save both 
men and beasts. But we have left him neither 
heaven, nor earth, nor water, nor country, nor city, 
peace nor war to rule and govern, neither men, nor 
beasts, nor their diseases to cure ; that a godly man 
might justly for zealous indignation cry out, O 
heaven, O earth, and seas, what madness and 
wickedness against God are men fallen into ! What 
dishonour do the creatures to their Creator and 
Maker ! And if we remember God sometimes, yet, 
btecause we doubt of his ability or will to help, we 
join to him another helper, as he were a noun ad- 
jective, using these sayings : such as learn, God and 
St. Nicholas be my speed : such as neese, God help 
and St. John ; to the horse, God and St. Loy save 
thee. Thus are we become like horses and mules, 
which have no understanding. For is there not one 
God only, who by his power and wisdom made all 
things, and by his providence governeth the same, 
and by his goodness maintaineth and saveth them ? 
Be not all tilings of him, by him, and through him '^ 
Why dost thou turn from the Creator to the crea- 
tures? This is the manner of the Gentiles idola- 
ters : But thou art a Christian, and therefore by 

against Peril of Idolatry. 63 

Christ alone hast access to God the Father, and help 
of him only. These things are not written to any 
reproach of the saints themselves, who were the 
true servants of God, and did give all honour to 
him, taking none unto themselves, and are blessed 
souls with God; but against our foolishness and 
wickedness, making of the true servants of God, 
false gods, by attributing to them the power and 
honour which is God's, and due to him only. And 
for that we have such opinions of the power and 
ready help of saints, all our legends, hymns, se- 
quences, and masses, did contain stories, lauds, and 
praises of them, and prayers to them ; yea, and 
sermons also altogether of them, and to their praises, 
God's word being clean laid aside. And this we do 
altogether agreeable to the saints, as did the Gen- 
tiles idolaters to their false gods. For these opinions, 
which men have had of mortal persons, were they 
never so holy, the old most godly and learned Chris- 
tians have written against the feigned gods of the 
Gentiles, and Christian princes have destroyed their 
images, who, if they were now living, would doubt- 
less likewise both wi'ite against our false opinions of 
saints, and also destroy their images. For it is 
evident, that our image-maintainers have the same 
opinion of saints which the Gentiles had of their 
false gods, and thereby are moved to make them 
images, as the Gentiles did. If answer be made, 
that they make saints but intercessors to God, and 
means for such things as they would obtain of God : 
that is, even after the Gentiles' idolatrous usage, to 

make them of saints, eods, called Dii _. ,. . . _,.. 
-.,,. .. . 1 ^ ., Medioxirai Dii. 

Medioximi, to be mean mtercessors 

and helpers to God, as though he did not hear, or 

should be weary if he did all alone. So did the 

Gentiles teach, that there was one chief power 

working by other, as means ; and so they made all 

gods subject to fate or destiny ; as Lucian in his 

Dialogues feigneth that Neptune made suit to Mer- 

64 The TJdrd Part of the Sermon 

cury, that he might speak with Jupiter. And there- 
fore in this also, it is most evident, that our image- 
maintainers be all one in opinion with the Gentiles 

Now remaineth the third part, that their rites and 
ceremonies, in honouring and worshipping of the 
images or saints, be all one with the rites which the 
Gentiles idolaters used in honouring their idols. 
First, what meaneth it, that Christians, after the 
example of the Gentiles idolaters, go on pilgrimage 
to visit images, where they have the like at home, 
but that they have a more opinion of holiness and 
virtue in some images, than other some, like as the 
Gentiles idolaters had? Which is the readiest way 
to bring them to idolatry by worshipping of them, 
and directly against God's word, who saith. Seek 
me, and ye shall live ; and do not seek Bethel ; enter 
not into Gilgal, neither go to Beersheba, Amos v. 
And against such as had any superstition in the holi- 
ness of the place, as though they should be heard 
for the place's sake, saying. Our fathers ivorshipped 
in this mountain : and ye say that at Jerusalem is the 
place where men should worship : our Saviour Christ 
pronounceth, Believe me, the hour cometh^ when you 
shall worship the Father neither in this mountain, 
nor at Jerusalem ; but true worshippers shall wor- 
ship the Father in spirit and truth. John iv. But 
it is too well known, that by such pilgrimage going, 
Lady Venus and her son Cupid were rather worship- 
ped wantonly in the flesh, than God the Father and 
our Saviour Christ his Son, truly worshipped in the 

And it was very agreeable (as St. Paul teacheth) 
that they which fell to idolatry, which is spiritual 
fornication, should also fall into carnal fornication, 
and all uncleanness, by the just judgments of God 
delivering them over to abominable concupiscences. 
Rom. i. 

What meaneth it, that Christian men, after the 

against Peril of Idolatry. QS 

lise of the Gentiles idolaters, cap and kneel before 
images ? which, if they had any sense and gratitude, 
would keel before men, carpenters, masons, plas- 
terers, founders, and goldsmiths, their makers and 
fi'amers, by whose means they have attained this 
honour, which else should have been evil-favoured 
and rude lumps of clay, or plaster, pieces of timber, 
stone or metal, w^ithout shape or fashion, and so 
without all estimation and honour, as that idol in the 
pagan poet confesseth, saying, " I was once a vile 
block, but now I am become a god," &c. Horatius. 
What a fond thing is it for a man, who hath life and 
reason, to bow himself to a dead and insensible 
image, the work of his own hand ! Adorare. Is not 
this stooping and kneeling before them, adoration 
of them, which is forbidden so earnestly by God's 
word? Gefi. xxiii. xxxiii. I Kings i. Let such as 
so fall down before images of saints, know and con- 
fess that they exhibit that honour to dead stocks and 
stones, which the saints themselves, Peter, Paul, 
and Barnabas, would not to be given them being 
alive ; which the angel of God forbiddeth to be 
given to him. Acts x. xiv. Apoc. xix. And if they 
say they exhibit such honour not to the image, but 
to the saint whom it representeth, they are convicted 
of folly to believe that they please saints with that 
honour, which they abhor as a spoil of God's honour : 
for they be no changelings ; but now both having 
greater understanding, and more fervent love of 
God, do more abhor to deprive liim of his due 
honour : and being now like unto the angels of God, 
do with angels flee to take unto them by sacrilege 
the honour due to God : and herewithal is confuted 
their lewd distinction of Latria and Dulia ; where it 
is evident, that the saints of God cannot abide, that 
as much as any outward worshipping be done or ex- 
hibited to them. But Satan, God's enemy, desiring 
to rob God of his honour, desireth exceedingly that 

66 The Third Part of the Sermon 

such honour might be given to him. Wherefore 
those which give the honour due to the Creator, to 
any creature, do service acceptable to no saints, who 
be the friends of God, but unto Satan, God and man's 
mortal and sworn enemy. Matt. iv. And to attribute 
such desire of divine honour to saints, is to blot them 
with a most odious and devilish ignominy and villany, 
and indeed of saints to make them Satans and very 
devils, whose property is to challenge to themselves 
the honour which is due to God only. 

And furthermore, in that they say that they do not 
worship the images, as the Gentiles did their idols, 
but God and the saints, whom the images do repre- 
sent ; and therefore that their doings before images be 
not like the idolatry of the Gentiles before their idols ; 
St Augustine, Lactantius, and Clemens, do prove evi- 
dently, that by this their answer they be all one with 
the Gentiles idolaters. The Gentiles, saith St. Augus- 
tine, which seem to be of the purer religion, say, We 
worship not the images, but by the corporal image we 
do behold the signs of the things which we ought to 
worship. August. Psalm, cxxxv. 

And Lactantius saith, The Gentiles say, we fear 
not the images, but them after whose likeness the 
images be made, and to whose names they be conse- 
crated. Lactant. 1. ii. Inst. Thus far Lactantius. 

And Clemens saith, that serpent the devil uttereth 
these words by the mouth of certain men : We, to the 
honour of the invisible God, worship visible images : 
which surely is most false. See how in using the 
same excuses which the Gentiles idolaters pretended, 
they show themselves to join with them in idolatry. 
Lib. V. adJacob. Dominifratrem. For notwithstanding 
this excuse, St. Augustine, Clemens, and Lactantius 
prove them idolaters. And Clemens saith. That the 
serpent, the devil, putteth such excuses in the mouth 
of idolaters. And the Scriptures say, they worship 
the stocks and stones, (notwithstanding this excuse :) 

against Peril of Idolatry. 67 

even as our image-maintainers do. And Ezekiel 
therefore calleth the gods of the Assyrians stocks 
and stones, although they were but images of their 
gods. So are our images of God, and the saints named 
by the names of God and his saints, after the use of 
the Gentiles. 

And the same Clemens saith thus, in the same 
book : They dare not give the name of the emperor 
to any other, for he punisheth his offender and traitor 
by and by : but they dare give the name of God to 
others, because he for repentance sufFereth his of- 
fenders. And even so do our image-worshippers 
give both names of God and the saints, and also the 
honour due to God, to their images, even as did the 
Gentiles idolaters, to their idols. What should it 
mean, that they, according as did the Gentiles idol- 
aters, light candles at noon-time, or at midnight, 
before them, but therewith to honour them ? For 
other use is there none in so doing. For in the day 
it needeth not, but was ever a proverb of foolish- 
ness, to light a candle at noon-time. And in the 
night it availeth not to light a candle before the 
blind, and God hath neither use nor honour thereof. 
And concerning this candle-lighting, it is notable 
that Lactantius, above a thousand years ago, hath 
written after this manner: If they would behold 
the heavenly light of the sun, then should they per- 
ceive that God hath no need of their candles, who 
for the use of man hath made so goodly a light. 
Lib. vi. Instit. cap. 2. And whereas in so little a 
circle of the sun, which for the great distance seemeth 
to be no greater than a man's head, there is so great 
brightness, that the sight of man's eye is not able to 
behold it, but if one stedfastly look upon it awhile, 
his eyes will be dulled and blinded with darkness : 
how great light, how great clearness, may we think 
to be with God, with whom is no night nor darkness ? 
And so forth. 

And by and by he saith, Seemeth lie therefore to 

68 The Third Part of the Sermon 

be in his right mind, who offereth up to the Giver 
of light the light of a wax candle for a gift? He 
requireth another light of us, which is not smoky, 
but bright and clear, even the light of the mind and 

And shortly after he saith. But their gods, be- 
cause they be earthly, have need of. light, lest they 
remain in darkness, whose worshippers because 
they understand no heavenly thing, do draw religion, 
which they use, down to the earth, in the which, 
being dark of nature, is need of light. W herefore 
they give to their gods no heavenly, . but the earthly 
understanding of mortal men. And therefore they 
believe those things to be necessary and pleasant 
unto them, which are so to us, who have need either 
of meat when we be hungry, or drink when we be 
thirsty, or clothing when we be a cold, or when the 
sun is set, candle-light that we may see. Thus far 
Lactantius, and much more, too long here to write, 
of candle-lighting in temples before images and idols 
for religion : whereby appeareth both the foolish- 
ness thereof, and also that in opinion and act we 
do agree altogether in our candle-religion with the 
Gentiles idolaters. What meaneth it that they, after 
the example of the Gentiles idolaters, burn incense, 
offer up gold to images, hang up crutches, chains, 
and ships, legs, arms, and whole men and women of 
wax, before images, as though by them, or saints, (as 
they say,) they were delivered from lameness, sickness, 
. captivity, or shipwreck? Is not this 

colere imagines^ to worship images, so 
earnestly forbidden in God's word? If they deny it, 
let them read the eleventh chapter of Daniel the pro- 
phet, who saith of Antichrist, He shall worship God, 
whom his fathers knew not, with gold, silver, and 
with precious stones, and other things of pleasure : 
In v/hich place the Latin word is colet. And in the 
second of Paralipomenon, the twenty-ninth chapter, 
all the outward rites and ceremonies, as burning of 


against Peril of Idolatry. 69 

incense, and such other, wherewith God in the temple 
was honoured, is called ciiltus, (to say,) 
worshipping, which is forbidden straitly 
by God's word to be given to images. Do not all 
stories ecclesiastical declare, that our holy martyrs, 
rather than they would bow and kneel, or offer up 
one crum.b of incense before any image or idol, have 
suffered a thousand kinds of most horrible and dread- 
ful death ? And what excuses soever they make, yet 
that all this running on pilgrimage, burning of incense 
and candles, hanging up of crutches, chains, ships, 
arms, legs, and whole men and women of wax, kneel- 
ing and holding up of hands, is done to the images, 
appeareth by this, that where no images be, or 
vv'here they have been, and be taken away, they do 
no such things at all. But all the places frequented 
when the images were there, now they be taken 
away, be forsaken and lefl desert ; nay, now they 
hate and abhor the place deadly ; which is an evi- 
dent proof, that that which they did before was done 
in respect of the images. Wherefore, when we see 
men and women on heaps to go on pilgrimage to 
images, kneel before them, hold up their hands be- 
fore them, set up candles, burn incense before them, 
ofl^er up gold and silver unto them, hang up ships, 
crutches, chains, men and women of wax before 
them, attributing health and safeguard, the gifts of 
God, to them, or the saints whom they represent, as 
they ratlier would have it ; who, I say, who can doubt, 
but that our image-maintainers, agreeing in all idol- 
atrous opinions, outward rites and ceremonies, with 
the Gentiles idolaters, agree also with them in com- 
mitting most abominable idolatry ; and to increase 
this madness, wicked men, which have the keeping 
of such images, for their more lucre and advan- 
tage, after the example of the Gentiles idolaters, 
have reported and spread abroad, as well by lying 
tales as written fables, divers miracles of images : 

70 The Third Part of the Sermon 

as that such an image miraculously was sent from 
heaven, even like the Palladium, or Magna Diana 
Ephesiorum. Such another was as miraculously 
found in the earth, as the man's head was in the 
Capitol, or the horse's head in Capua. Such an 
image was brought by angels. Such an one came 
itself far from the east to the west, as dame Fortune 
fled to Rome. Such an image of our Lady was 
painted by St. Luke, whom of a physician they have 
made a painter for that purpose. Such an one an 
hundred yokes of oxen could not move, like Bona 
Dea, whom the ship could not carry, or Jupiter 
Olympus, which laughed the artificers to scorn, that 
went about to remove him to Rome. Some images, 
'though they were hard and stony, yet, for tender 
heart and pity, wept. Some, like Castor and Pol- 
lux, helping their friends in battle, sweat, as marble 
pillars do in dankish weather. Some spake more 
monstrously than ever did Balaam's ass, who had life 
and breath in him. Such a cripple came and saluted 
this saint of oak, and by and by he was made whole ; 
and lo, here hangeth his crutch. Such an one in a 
tempest vowed to St. Christopher and scaped; and 
behold, here is a ship of wax. Such an one by St. 
Leonard's help brake out of prison ; and see where his 
fetters hang. And infinite thousands more miracles, 
by like or more shameful lies were reported. Thus 
do our image-maintainers in earnest apply to their 
images all such miracles, as the Gentiles have feigned 
of their idols. And if it were to be admitted, that 
some miraculous acts were by illusion of the devil 
done where images be ; (for it is evident that the most 
part were feigned lies, and crafty jugglings of men :) 
yet foUoweth it not therefore, that such images are 
either to be honoured, or suffered to remain, no more 
than Hezekiah left the brazen serpent undestroyed, 
when it was worshipped, although it were both set up 
by God's commandment, and also approved by a great 

against Peril of Idolatry, 71 

and true miracle, for as many as beheld it were by and 
by healed : neither ought miracles to persuade us to do 
contrary to God's word. For the Scriptures have for 
a warning hereof foreshowed, that the kingdom of 
Atitichrist shall be mighty in miracles and wonders, 
to the strong illusion of all the reprobate. But in this 
they pass the folly and wickedness of the Gentiles, 
that they honour and worship the relics and bones of 
our saints, which prove that they be mortal men and 
dead, and therefore no gods to be worshipped, which 
the Gentiles would never confess of their gods for 
very shame. But the relics w^e must kiss and offer 
unto, specially on relic Sunday. And while we offer 
(that we should not be weary, or repent us of our 
cost,) the music and minstrelsy goeth merrily all the 
offertory time, with praising and calling upon those 
saints, whose relics be then in presence. Yea, and 
the water also, wherein those relics have been dipped, 
must with great reverence be reserved, as very holy 
and effectual. Is this agreeable to St. Chrysostom, 
who >\Titeth thus of relics : " Do not regard the ashes 
of the saints' bodies, nor the relics of their flesh and 
bones, consumed with time : but open the eyes of thy. 
faith, and behold them clothed with heavenly virtue, 
and the grace of the Holy Ghost, and shining with 
the brightness of the heavenly light." Homilia de sep- 
tern Macchabceis. But our idolaters found too much 
vantage of relics and relic water, to follow St. Chry- 
sostonf s council. And because relics were so gainful, 
few places were there but they had relics provided for 
them. And for more plenty of relics, some one saint 
had many heads, one in one place, and another in 
another place. Some had six arms and twenty-six 
fingers. And where our Lord bare his cross alone, if 
all the pieces of the relics thereof were gathered toge- 
ther, the gi-eatest ship in England would scarcely bear 
them ; and yet the greatest part of it, they say, doth 
yet remain in the hands of the infidels, for the which 

72 The Third Part of the Sermwi 

ihey pray in their beads bidding, that they may get it 
also into their hands, for such godly use and purpose. 
And not only the bones of the saints, but every thing 
appertaining to them was a holy relic. In some place 
they offer a sword, in some the scabbard, in some a 
shoe, in some a saddle that had been set upon some 
holy horse, in some the coals wherewith St. Lawrence 
was roasted, in some place the tail of the ass which 
our Lord Jesus Christ sat on, to be kissed and of- 
fered unto for a relic. For rather than they would 
lack a relic they would offer you a horse bone, in- 
stead of a virgin's arm, or the tail of the ass to be 
kissed and offered unto for relics. O wicked, impu- 
dent, and most shameless men, the devisers of these 
things ! O silly, foolish, and dastardly daws, and 
more beastly than the ass whose tail they kissed, that 
believe such things. Now God be merciful to such 
miserable and silly Christians, who by the fraud and 
falsehood of those which should have taught them 
the way of truth and life, have been made not only 
more wicked than the Gentiles idolaters, but also no 
wiser than asses, horses, and mules, which have no 

Of these things already rehearsed, it is evident 
that our image maintainers have not only made 
images, and set them up in temples, as did the Gen- 
tiles idolaters their idols ; but also that they have 
had the same idolatrous opinions of the saints, to whom 
they have made images, which the Gentiles idolaters 
had of their false gods ; and have not only worshipped 
their images with the same rites, ceremonies, supersti- 
tion, and ail circumstances, as did the Gentiles idola- 
ters their idols, but in many points also have far 
exceeded them in all wickedness, foolishness, and 
madness. And if this be not sufficient to prove them 
image-worshippers, that is to say, idolaters, lo, you 
shall hear their own open confession ; I mean, not only 
tne decrees of the second Nicene council under Irene, 

against Peril of Idolatry. 73 

the Roman council under Gregory III. in which as 
they teach that images are to be honoured and wor- 
shipped, as is before declared: so yet do they it warily 
and fearfidly, in comparison to the blasphemous, bold, 
blazing of manifest idolatry to be done to images, set 
forth of late, even in these our days, the light of God's 
truth so shining, that above other abominable doings 
and \vi'itings, a man would marvel most at their impu- 
dent, shameless, and most shameful, blustering bold- 
ness, who would not at the least have chosen them a 
time of more darkness, as meeter to utter their horrible 
blasphemies in ; but have now taken an harlot's face, 
not purposed to blush in setting abroad the furniture 
of their spiritual whoredom. And here the plain 
blasphemy of the reverend father in God, James Nac- 
lantus, bishop of Clugium, written in his exposition 
of St. Paul's epistle to the Romans, and the first 
chapter, and put in print now of late at Venice, may 
stand instead of all, whose words of image-worshipping 
be these in Latin, as he did write them, not one syl- 
lable altered. 

Ergo non solum fatendum est, fideles in ecclesia 
adorare coram imagine^ {ut nonnulli ad cautelam forte 
loquKntur,) sed et adorare imaginem, sine quo volueris 
scrupido, quin et eo illam venerantur cultu, quo et 
prototypon ejus : propter quod si illud liahet adorare 
latria, et ilia latria : si dulia, vel hyperdulia, et ilia 
par iter ejusmodi cultu adoranda est. 

The sense whereof in English is this : Therefore 
it is not only to be confessed, that the faithful in the 
church do worship before an image, (as some per- 
adventure do warily speak,) but also do worship the 
image itself, without any scruple or doubt at all, 
yea, and they worship the image with the same kind 
of worship, wherewith they worship the copy of the 
image, or the thing whereafter the image is made. 
Wherefore if the copy itself is to be worshipped with 
divine honour) as is God the Father, Christ, and the 
Holy Ghost,) the image of them is also to be wor- 

74 The Third Part of the Sermon 

shipped with divine honour. If the copy ought to 
be worshipped with inferior honour or higher wor- 
ship, the image also is to be worshipped with the 
same honour or worship. Thus far hath Naclantus, 
whose blasphemies let Pope Gregorius I. confute, 
and by his authority damn them to hell, as his suc- 
cessors have horribly thundered. Gregor. Epist. ad 
Serenum Massil. For although Gregory permitteth 
images to be had, yet he forbiddeth them by any 
means to be worshipped, and praiseth much Bishop 
Serenus for the forbidding the worshipping of them, 
and willeth him to teach the people to avoid by all 
means to worship any image. But Naclantus blov/eth 
forth his blasphemous idolatry, willing images to be 
worshipped with the highest kind of adoration and 
worship : and lest such wholesome doctrine should 
lack authority, he groundeth it upon Aristotle, in his 
book De Somno et Vi^ilia, that is, of Sleeping and 
Waking, as by his printed book, noted in the margin, 

is to be seen ; whose impudent wicked- 
ping.'"'^^^'^°''' ness and idolatrous judgment I have 

therefore more largely set forth, that ye 
may (as Virgil speaketh of Sinon,) of one know all 
these image worshippers and idolaters, and understand 
to what point in conclusion the public having of images 
in temples and churches hath brought us ; comparing 
the times and writings of Gregory I. with our days, 
and the blasphemies of such idolaters, as this instru- 
ment of Belial, named Naclantus, is. Wherefore now 
it is by the testimony of the old godly fathers and 
doctors, by the open confession of bishops assembled 
in councils, by most evident signs and arguments, 
opinions, idolatrous acts, deeds, and worshipping done 
to their images, and by their own open confession and 
doctrine set forth in their books, declared and showed, 
that their images have been and be commonly wor- 
shipped, yea, and that they ought so to be : I will out 
of God's word make this general argument against all 
such makers, setters-up, and maintainers of images in 

against Peril of Idolatry, 75 

public places. And first of all I will begin with the 
words of our Saviour Christ. Woe be to that man 
hy whom an offence is give?i. Woe be to him that 
offendeth one of these little ones, or weak ones, 
better ivere it for him, that a mill stone were hanged 
about his neck, and he cast into the middle of the sea^ 
and drowned, than he should offend one of these little 
ones, or weak ones. Matt, xviii. And in Deuteronomy, 
God himself denounceth him accursed, that maketh 
the blind to wander in his way, Deut. xxvii. And in 
Leviticus, Thou shalt not lay a stumbling-block, or 
stone, before the blind. Lev. xix. But images in 
churches and temples have been, and be, and (as after- 
wards shall be proved,) ever will be, offences and 
stumbling-blocks, specially to the weak, simple, and 
blind common people, deceiving their hearts by the 
cunning of the artificer, (as the Scripture expressly in 
sundry places doth testify,) and so bringing them to 
idolatry : Therefore woe be to the erecter, setter-up, 
and maintainer of images in churches and temples : for 
a greater penalty remaineth for him than the death of 
the body. Wisd. xiii. xiv. 

If answer be yet made, that this ofience may be 
taken away by diligent and sincere doctrine and 
preaching of God's word, as by other means ; and 
that images in churches and temples therefore be not 
things absolutely evil to all men, although dangerous 
to some : and therefore that it were to be holden, that 
the public having of them in churches and temples 
is not expedient, as a thing perilous rather than un- 
lawfiil, and a thing utterly wicked : then followeth 
the third article to be proved, which is this : That it 
is not possible, if images be suffered in churches and 
temples, either by preaching of God's word, or by 
any other means, to keep the people from worship- 
ping of them, and so to avoid idolatiy. And first 
concerning preaching. If it should be admitted, 
that although images were suffered in churches, yet 

76 The Third Part of the Sermon 

might idolatry by diligent and sincere preaching of 
God's word be avoided ; it should follow of neces- 
sity, that sincere doctrine might always be had and 
continue as well as images, and so that wheresoever, to 
offence, were erected an image, there also of reason, 
a godly and sincere preacher should and might be con- 
tinually maintained. For it is reason, that the warning 
be as common as the stumbling-block, the remedy as 
large as is the offence, the medicine as general as the 
poison : but that is not possible, as both reason and 
experience teacheth. Wherefore preaching cannot 
stay idolatry, images being publicly suffered. For an 
image which will last for many hundred years, may for 
a little be bought: but a good preacher cannot without 
much be continually maintained. Itein, if the prince 
will suffer it, there will be by and by many, yea, 
infinite images ; but sincere preachers were, and ever 
shall be, but a few in respect to the multitude to be 
taught. For cur Saviour Christ saith. The harvest is 
plentiful, hut the workmen be but few : which hath 
been hitherto continually true, and will be to the 
world's end : and in our time, and here in our country 
so true, that every shire should scarcely have one good 
preacher, if they were divided. 

Now images will continually to the beholders 
preach their doctrine, that is, the worshipping of 
images and idolatry : to the which preaching man- 
kind is exceeding prone, and incline to give ear 
and credit, as experience of all nations and ages 
doth too much prove. But a true preacher, to stay 
this mischief, is in very many places scarcely heard 
once in a whole year, and somewhere not once in 
seven years, as is evident to be proved. And that 
evil opinion, which hath been long rooted in men's 
hearts, cannot suddenly by one sermon be rooted 
out clean. And as few are inclined to credit sound 
doctrine ; as many, and almost all, be prone to su- 
perstition and idolatry. So that herein appeareth 


against Peril of Idolatry, 77 

not only a difficulty, but also an impossibility of the 
remedy. Further, it appeareth not by any story of 
credit, that true and sincere preaching hath endured 
in any one place above one hundi'ed years : but it is 
evident, that images, superstition, and worshipping 
of images, and idolatry, have continued many hun- 
di'ed years. For all writings and experience do 
testify, that good things do by litde and little ever 
decay, until they be clean banished ; and, contrari- 
wise, evil things do more and more increase, till they 
come to a full perfection of wickedness. Neither 
need we to seek examples far off for a proof hereof; 
our present matter is an example. For preaching of 
God's word most sincere (in the beginning,) by process 
of time waxed less and less pure, and after corrupt, and 
last of all, altogether laid down and left off, and other 
inventions of men crept in place of it. And on the 
other part, images among Christian men were first 
painted, and that in whole stories together, which had 
some signification in them ; afterwards they were em- 
bossed, and made of timber, stone, plaster, and metal. 
And first they were only kept privately in private 
men's houses ; and then after they crept into churches 
and temples, but first by painting, and after by em- 
bossing; and yet were they no where at the first 
worshipped. But shortly after they began to be wor- 
shipped of the ignorant sort of men, as appeareth by 
the epistle that Gregory the first of that name, bishop 
of Rome, did write to Serenus, bishop of Marseilles, 
Of the which two bishops, Serenus, for idolatry com- 
mitted to images, brake them, and burned them. 
Gregory, although he thought it tolerable to let them 
stand, yet he judged it abominable that they should 
be worshipped : and thought, (as is now alleged,) that 
the worshipping of them might be stayed, by teach- 
ing of God's word, according as he exhorteth Sere- 
nus to teach the people, as in the same epistle ap- 
peareth. But whether Gregory's opinion or Serenus 's 
judgment were better herein, consider ye, I pray 


78 The Third Part of the Sermon 

you, for experience by and by confuteth Gregory's 
opinion. For notwithstanding Gregory's writing, and 
the preaching of others, images being once pub- 
licly set up in temples and churches, simple men and 
women shortly after fell on heaps to worshipping of 
them: and at the last the learned also were carried 
away with the public error, as with a violent stream, 
or flood. And at the second council Nicene, the 
bishops and clergy decreed, that images should be 
worshipped : and so, by occasion of these stumbling- 
blocks, not only the unlearned and simple, but the 
learned and wise, not the people only, but the bishops, 
not the sheep, but also the shepherds themselves, 
(who should have been guides in the right way, and 
lights to shine in darkness,) being blinded by the 
bewitching of images, as blind guides of the blind, 
fell both into the pit of damnable idolatry. In the 
which all the world, as it were drowned, continued 
until our age, by the space of above eight hundred 
years, unspoken against in a manner. And this suc- 
cess had Gregory's order : which mischief had never 
come to pass, had Bishop Serenus's way been taken, 
and all idols and images been utterly destroyed and 
abolished : for no man worshippeth that that is 
not. And thus you see, how from having of images 
privately, it came to public setting of them up in 
churches and temples, although without harm at the 
first, as was then of some wise and learned men 
judged ; and from simple having them there, it came 
at the last to worshipping of them : first, by the rude 
people, who specially (as the Scripture teacheth,) 
are in danger of superstition and idolatry, and after- 
wards by the bishops, the learned, and by the whole 
clergy. Wisd, xiii. xiv. So that laity and clergy, 
learned and unlearned, all ages, sects, and degrees 
of men, women, and children of whole Christendom 
(an horrible and most dreadful thing to think,) have 
been at once drowned in abominable idolatry, of all 
other vices most detested of God, and most damn- 

against Peril of Idolatry, 79 

able to man, and that by the space of eight hundred 
years and more. And to this end is come that be- 
ginning of setting up of images in churches, then 
judged harmless, m experience proved not only harm- 
ful, but exitious and pestilent, and to the destruction 
and subversion of all good religion universally. So 
that 1 conclude, as it may be possible in some one 
city, or little country, to have images set up in tem- 
ples and churches, and yet idolatry, by earnest and 
continual preaching of God's true word, and the 
sincere Gospel of our Saviour Christ, may be kept 
away for a short time : so it is impossible that 
(images once set up and suffered in temples and 
churches,) any great countries, much less the whole 
w'orld, can any long time be kept from idolatry. 
And the godly will respect, not only their own city, 
country, and time, and the health of men of their 
age, but be careful for all places and times, and the 
salvation of men of all ages. At the least, they will 
not lay such stumbling-blocks and snares for the 
feet of other countrymen and ages, which experience 
hath already proved to have been the ruin of the 
world. Wherefore I make a general conclusion of 
all that I have hitherto said : if the stumbling-blocks 
and poisons of men's souls, by setting up of images, 
will be many, yea, infinite, if they be suffered, and 
the warnings of the same stumbling-blocks, and re- 
medies for the said poisons by preaching but few, as 
is already declared; if the stumbling-blocks be easy 
to be laid, the poisons soon provided, and the warn- 
ings and remedies hard to know, or come by ; if the 
stumbling-blocks lie continually in the way, and 
poison be ready at hand everywhere, and warnings 
and remedies but seldom given ; and if all men be 
more ready of themselves to stumble and be offended 
than to be warned, all men more ready to drink of 
the poison than to taste of the remedy, (as is before 
partly, and shall hereafter more fully be declared,) 

D 4 

80 Tlte Third Part of the Sermon 

and so in fine, the poison continually and deeply 
drunk of many, the remedy seldom and faintly tasted 
of a few ; how can it be but that infinite of the weak 
and infirm shall be offended, infinite by ruin shall 
break their necks, infinite by deadly venom be poi- 
sioned in their souls ? And how is the charity of 
God, or love of our neighbour, in our hearts then, if, 
when we may remove such dangerous stumbling- 
blocks, such pestilent poisons, we will not remove 
them? What shall I say of them, which will lay 
stumbling-blocks where before there were none, and 
set snares for the feet, nay, for the souls of weak and 
simple ones, and work the danger of their everlasting 
destruction, for whom our Saviour Christ shed his 
most precious blood, where better it were that the arts 
of painting, plastering, carving, graving, and founding, 
had never been found nor used, than one of them, 
whose souls in the sight of God are so precious, 
should by occasion of image or picture perish and be 
lost. And thus is it declared, that preaching cannot 
possibly stay idolatry, if images be set up publicly 
in temples and churches. And as true is it, that no 
other remedy, as writing against idolatry, councils 
assembled, decrees made against it, severe laws 
likewise, and proclamations of princes and emperors, 
neither extreme punishments and penalties, nor any 
other remedy, could or can be possibly devised for the 
avoiding of idolatry, if images be publicly set up and 
suffered. For concerning writing against images, and 
idolatry to them committed, there hath been alleged 
unto you, in the second part of this treatise, a great 
many places out of Tertullian, Origen, Lactantius, St. 
Augustine, Epiphanius, St. Ambrose, Clemens, and 
divers other learned and holy bishops and doctors of 
the church. And besides these, all histories ecclesi- 
astical, and books of other godly and learned bishops 
and doctors, are full of notable examples and sentences 
against images, and the worshipping of them. And 

against Peril of Idolatry, 81 

as they have most earnestly written, so did they sin- 
cerely and most diligently in their time teach and 
preach, according to their writings and examples. For 
they were then preaching bishops, and more often seen 
in pulpits than in princes' palaces, more often occu- 
pied in his legacy, who said. Go ye into the whole 
world, and preach the Gospel to all men, than in 
embassages, and affairs of princes of this world. And 
as they were most zealous and diligent, so were they 
of excellent learning and godliness of life, and by both 
of great authority and credit with the people, and so 
of more force and likelihood to persuade the people, 
and the people more like to believe and follow their 
doctrine. But if their preachers could not help, 
much less could their writings, which do but come to 
the knowledge of a few that be learned, in comparison 
to continual preaching, whereof the whole multitude is 
partaker. Neither did the old fathers, bishops, and 
doctors, severally only by preaching and writing, but 
also together, great numbers of them assembled in 
synods and councils, make decrees and ecclesiastical 
laws against images, and the worshipping of them ; 
neither did they so once or twice, but divers times, and 
in divers ages and countries, assembled synods and 
councils, and made severe decrees against images, and 
worshipping of them, as hath been at large in the 
second part of this Homily before declared. But all 
their writing, preaching, assembling in councils, de- 
creeing and making of laws ecclesiastical, could nothing 
help, either to pull down images, to whom idolatry 
was committed, or against idolatry whilst images stood. 
For those blind books and dumb schoolmasters, I 
mean images and idols, (for they call them laymen's 
books and schoolmasters,) by their cai*ved and 
painted v/ritings, teaching and preaching idolatry, 
prevailed against all their written books, and preach- 
ing with lively voice, as they call it. Well, if preach- 
ing and writing could not keep men from worship- 
ping of images and idolatry, if pen and words could 


82 The Third Part of the Sermon 

not do it, you would think that penalty and sword 
might do it ; I mean, that princes by severe laws and 
punishments might stay this unbridled affection of 
all men to idolatry, though images were set up and 
suffered. But experience proveth, that this can no 
more help against idolatry than writing and preach- 
ing. For Christian emperors, (whose authority ought 
of reason, and by God's law, to be greatest,) above 
eight in number, and six of them successively reign- 
ing one after another, (as is in the histories before 
rehearsed,) making most severe laws and proclama- 
tions against idols and idolatry, images and the wor- 
shipping of images, and executing most grievous 
punishments, yea, the penalty of death, upon the 
maintainers of images, and upon idolaters and image- 
worshippers, could not bring to pass, that either 
images once set up might thoroughly be destroyed, 
or that men should refrain from the worshipping of 
them, being set up. And what think you then will 
come to pass, if men of learning should teach the 
people to make them, and should maintain the settmg 
up of them, as things necessary in religion ? To 
conclude ; it appeareth evidently by all stories, and 
writings, and experience in times past, that neither 
preaching, neither writing, neither the consent of 
the learned, nor authority of the godly, nor the de- 
crees of councils, neither the laws of princes, nor 
extreme punishments of the offenders in that behalf, 
nor any other remedy or means, can help against 
idolatry, if images be suffered publicly. And it is 
truly said, that times past are schoolmasters of wis- 
dom to us that follow and live after. Therefore, if 
in times past the most virtuous and best learned, 
the most diligent also, and in number almost infi- 
nite, ancient fathers, bishops and doctors, with their 
writing, preaching, industry, earnestness, authority, 
assemblies, and councils, could do nothing against 
images and idolatry, to images once set up ; what 
can we, neither in learning, nor holiness of life, 

against Peril of Idolatry, 83 

neither in diligence, neither authority, to be com- 
pared with them, but men in contempt and of no 
estimation, (as the workl goeth now,) a few also in 
number, in so great a multitude and malice of men ; 
what can we do, I say, or bring to pass, to the stay 
of idolatry or worshipping of images, if they be al- 
lowed to stand publicly in temples and churches ? 
And if so many, so mighty emperors, by> so severe 
laws and proclamations, so rigorous and extreme 
punishments and executions, could not stay the 
people from setting up and worshipping of images ; 
what will ensue, think you, when men shall com- 
mend them as necessary books of the laymen ? Let 
us therefore of these latter days learn this lesson of 
the experience of ancient antiquity, that idolatry 
cannot possibly be separated from images any long 
time : but that as an unseparable accident, or as a 
shadow foUoweth the body, when the sun shineth ; 
so idolatry folio weth and cleaveth to the public hav- 
ing of images in temples and churches. And finally, 
as idolatry is to be abhorred and avoided, so are 
images (which cannot be long without idolatry,) to 
be put away and destroyed. Besides the which ex- 
periments and proof of times before, the very nature 
and origin of images themselves draweth to idolatry 
most violently, and man's nature and inclination also 
is bent to idolatry so vehemently, that it is not pos- 
sible to sever or part images, nor to keep men fi'om 
idolatry, if images be suffered publicly. That I 
speak of the nature and origin of images is this : 
even as the first invention of them is naught, and 
no good can come of that which had an evil begin- 
ning, for they be altogether naught, as Athanasius, 
in his book against the Gentiles, declareth, and St. 
Jerome also upon the prophet Jeremy, the sixth 
chapter, and Eusebius, the seventh book of his 
Ecclesiastical History, the eighteenth chapter, tes- 
tifieth, that as they first came from the Gentiles, 
which were idolaters and worshippers of images, unto 


84 The Third Part of the Sermon 

us ; and as the invention of them was the beginnino* 
of spiritual fornication, as the word of God testifieth, 
Wisd. xiv. so will they naturally (as it were of neces- 
sity) turn to their origin from whence they came, 
and draw us with them most violently to idolatry, 
abominable to God, and all godly men. For if the 
origin of images, and worshipping of them, as it is 
recorded in the eighth chapter of the book of Wis- 
dom, began of a blind love of a fond father, framing 
for his comfort an image of his son, being dead, and 
so at the last men fell to the worshipping of the 
image of him whom they did know to be dead; 
how much more will men and women fall to the wor- 
shipping of the images of God, our Saviour Christ, 
and his saints, if they be suffered to stand in churches 
and temples publicly ? For the greater the opinion 
is of the majesty and holiness of the person to whom 
an image is made, the sooner will the people fall to 
the worshipping of the said image. Wherefore the 
images of God, our Saviour Christ, the blessed Virgin 
Mary, the apostles, martyrs, and others of notable 
holiness, are of all other images most dangerous 
for the peril of idolatry, and therefore greatest heed 
to be taken that none of them be suffered to stand 
publicly in churches and temples. For there is no 
great dread lest any should fall to the worshipping of 
the images of Annas, Caiaphas, Pilate, or Judas the 
traitor, if they were set up. But to the other, it is 
already at full proved, that idolatry hath been, is, 
and is most like continually to be committed. Now, 
as was before touched, and is here more largely to 
be declared, the nature of man is none otherwise 
bent to worshipping of images (if he may have 
them, and see them,) than it is bent to whoredom 
and adultery in the company of harlots. And as 
unto a man given to the lust of the flesh, seeing a 
wanton harlot, sitting by her, and embracing her, 
it profiteth little for one to say. Beware of fornica- 
tion ; God will condemn fornicators and adulterers : 

against Peril of Idolatry. ^^ 

1 Cor. vi. 1 Thess. iv. Heb. xiii. (for neither will he, 
being overcome with greater enticements of the strum- 
pet, give ear, or take heed to such godly admonitions ; 
and when he is left afterwards alone with the harlot, 
nothing can follow but wickedness :) even so, suffer 
images to be set in the churches and temples, ye 
shall in vain bid them beware of images, as St. John 
doth, and flee idolatry, as all the Scriptures warn 
us ; 1 John v. ye shall in vain preach and teach 
them against idolatry. For a number will notwith- 
standing fall headlong unto it, what by the nature 
of images, and what by the inclination of their own 
corrupt nature. 

Wherefore, as for a man given to lust, to sit down 
by a strumpet, is to tempt God ; so is it likewise to 
erect an idol in this proneness of man's nature to 
idolatry, nothing but a tempting. Now if any will 
say that this similitude proveth nothing ; yet I pray 
them let the word of God, out of the which the si- 
militude is taken, prove something. Doth not the 
word of God call idolatry, spiritual fornication ? 
Lev. xvii. and xx. ISIumb. xxv. Dent. xxxi. Doth it 
not call a gilt or painted idol, or image, a sti'umpet 
with a painted face ? Bariich vi. Be not the spiri- 
tual wickednesses of an idol's enticing like the flatte- 
ries of a wanton harlot ? Be not men and women as 
prone to spiritual fornication (I mean idolatry) as 
to carnal fornication ? If this be denied, let all 
nations upon the earth, which have been idolaters, 
(as by all stories appeareth,) prove it true. Let the 
Jews and the people of God, which were so often 
and so earnestly warned, so dreadfully threatened, 
concerning images and idolatry, and so extremely 
punished therefore, (and yet fell into it,) prove it to 
be true ; as in almost all the books of the Old Tes- 
tament, namely, the Kings and the Chronicles, and 
the Prophets, it appeareth most evidently. Let all 
ages and times, and men of all ages and times, of 
all degrees and conditions, wise men, learned men, 

S6 The Third Part of the Sermon 

princes, idiots, unlearned, and commonalty, prove 
it to be true. If you require examples ; for wise 
men, ye have the Egyptians, and the Indian Gym- 
nosophists, the wisest men of the world; you have 
Solomon, the wisest of all other: for learned men, 
the Greeks, and namely the Athenians, exceeding 
all other nations in superstition and idolatry, as in 
the history of the Acts of the Apostles, St. Paul 
chargeth them : Acts xvii. for princes and governors, 
you have the Romans, Rom. i. the rulers of the roast, 
(as they say,) you have the same forenamed King 
Solomon, and all the kings of Israel and Judah 
after him, saving David, Hezekiah, and Josiah, and 
one or two more. All these I say, and infinite 
others, wise, learned princes and governors, being 
all idolaters, have you for examples and a proof of 
men's inclination to idolatry. That I may pass over 
with silence, in the mean time, infinite multitudes 
and millions of idiots and unlearned, the ignorant 
and gross people, like unto horses and mules, in whom 
is no understanding, Psalm xxxii. whose peril and 
danger to fall on heaps to idolatry by occasion of 
images, the Scriptures specially foreshow and give 
warning of. Wisd. xiii. xiv. And indeed how should 
the unlearned, simple, and foolish escape the nets and 
snares of idols and images, in the which the wisest 
and the best learned have been so entangled, trap- 
ped, and wrapped ? Wherefore the argument holdeth 
this ground sure, that men be as inclined of their 
corrupt nature to spiritual fornication, as to carnal ; 
which the wisdom of God foreseeing, to the general 
prohibition, that none should make to themselves any 
image or similitude addeth a cause depending of 
man's corrupt nature: Lest, saith God, thou, being 
deceived with error, honour and worship them. Deut. 
iv. And of this ground of man's corrupt inclination, 
as well to spiritual fornication, as to carnal, it must 
needs follow, that as it is the duty of the godly ma- 
gistrate, loving honesty and hating whoredom, to 

against Peril of Idolatry, 87 

remove all strumpets and harlots, specially out of 
places notoriously suspected, or resorted unto of 
naughty packs, for the avoiding of carnal fornica- 
tion ; so it is the duty of the same godly magistrate, 
after the examples of the godly kings, Hezekiah 
and Josiah, to di'ive away all spiritual harlots, (I 
mean idols and images,) especially out of suspected 
places, churches, and temples, dangerous for idol- 
atry to be committed to images placed there, as it 
were in the appointed place and height of honour 
and worship, as St. Augustine saith, v/here the living 
God only (and not dead stones and stocks,) is to be 
worshipped : Augustin. in Psal. xxxvi. et cxiii. et lib. 
iv. cap. 3. de Civit. Dei, It is, I say, the office of 
godly magistrates likewise to avoid images and idols 
out of churches and temples, as spiritual harlots out 
of suspected places for the avoiding of idolatry, which 
is spiritual fornication. And as he were the enemy 
of all honesty, that should bring strumpets and har- 
lots out of their secret corners into the public mar- 
ket-place, there freely to dwell and practise their 
filthy merchandize ; so is he the enemy of the true 
worshipping of God, that bringeth idols and images 
into the temple and church, the house of God, there 
openly to be worshipped, and to rob the jealous God 
of his honour, who will not give it to any other, nor 
his glory to carved images ; who is as much forsaken, 
and the bond of love between man and him as much 
broken by idolatry, which is spiritual fornication, as 
is the knot and bond of marriage broken by carnal 
fornication. Let all this be taken as a lie, if the 
v/ord of God enforce it not to be true. Cursed be the 
man, saith God in Deuteronomy, that maketh a carved 
or molten image, and placetk it in a secret corner : 
and all the people shall say^ Amen, Deut. xxvii. Thus 
saith God; for at that time no man durst have or 
worship images openly, but in corners only : and the 
whole world being the great temple of God, he that 
in any corner thereof robbeth God of his glory, and 

88 The Third Part of the Ser?non 

giveth it to stocks and stones, is pronounced by 
God's word accursed. Now he that will bring these 
spiritual harlots out of their lurking corners, into ' 
public churches and temples, that spiritual fornica- 
tion may there openly of all men and women with- 
out shame be committed with them, no doubt that 
person is cursed of God, and twice cursed, and all 
good and godly men and women will say, Amen, 
and their Amen will take effect also. Yea, and 
furthermore the madness of all men professing the 
religion of Christ, now by the space of a sort of 
hundred years, and yet even in our time, in so great 
light of the Gospel, very many running on heaps 
by sea and land, to the great loss of their time, 
expense, and waste of their goods, destitution of 
their wives, children, and families, and danger of 
their own bodies and lives, to Compostella, Rome, 
Jerusalem, and other far countries, to visit dumb and 
dead stocks and stones, doth sufficiently prove the 
proneness of man's corrupt nature to the seeking of 
idols once set up, and the worshipping of them. And 
thus as well by the origin and nature of idols and 
images themselves, as by the proneness and inclina- 
tion of man's corrupt nature to idolatry, it is evident, 
that neither images, if they be publicly set up, can 
be separated, nor men, if they see images in temples 
and churches, can be staid and kept from idolatry. 
Now whereas they yet allege, that howsoever the 
people, princes, learned, and wise, of old time, have 
fallen into idolatry by occasion of images, that yet 
in our time the most part, specially the learned and 
wise, of any authority, take no hurt nor offence by 
idols and images, neither do run into far countries 
to them, and worship them ; and that they know 
well what an idol or image is, and how to be used ; 
and that therefore it followeth, images in churches 
and temples to be an indifferent thing, as the which 
of some is not abused, and that therefore they may 
justly hold (as was in the beginning of this part by 

against Peril of Idolatry. 8^ 

them alleged,) that it is not unlawful or wicked, abso- 
lutely 10 have images in churches and temples, though 
it may, for the danger of the simple sort, seem to be 
not altogether expedient. 

Whereunto may be well replied, that Solomon 
also, the wisest of all men, did well know what an 
idol or image was, and neither took any harm thereof 
a great while himself, and also with his godly writ- 
ings armed others against the danger of them. But 
yet afterward the same Solomon suffering his wanton 
paramours to bring their idols into his court and 
palace, was by carnal harlots persuaded, and brought 
at the last to the committing of spiritual fornication 
with idols, and, of the wisest and godliest prince, 
became the most foolish and wickedest also. Wisd, 
xiii. xiv. Wherefore it is better even for the wisest 
to regard this warning, He that loveth danger shall 
perish therein : and Let him that standeth^ beware 
lest he fall, Eccl. iii. and xiii. ] Cor. x. rather than 
wittingly and willingly to lay such a stumbling- 
block for his own feet and others, that may per- 
haps bring at last to break neck. The good king 
Hezekiah did know well enough, that the brazen 
serpent was but a dead image, and therefore he 
took no hurt himself thereby through idolatry to it, 
S Kings xviii. Did he therefore let it stand, because 
himself took no hurt thereof? No, not so : but being 
a good king, and therefore regarding the health of 
his silly subjects, deceived by that image, and com- 
mitting idolatry thereto, he did not only take it down, 
but also brake it to pieces ; and this he did to that 
image that was set up by the commandment of God, 
in the presence whereof great miracles were wrought, 
as that which was a figure of our Saviour Christ to 
come, who should deliver us from the mortal sting 
of the old serpent, Satan. Neither did he spare it 
in respect of the ancientness or antiquity of it, which 
had continued above seven hundred years, nor for 
that it had been suffered, and preserved by so many 

90 The Third Part of the Sermon 

godly kings before his time. How, think you, would 
that godly prince (if he were now living,) handle our 
idols, set up against God's commandment directly, 
and being figures of nothing but folly, and for fools 
to gaze on, till they become as wise as the blocks 
themselves which they stare on, and so fall down as 
dared larks in that gaze, and being themselves alive, 
worship a dead stock or stone, gold or silver, and so 
become idolaters, abominable and cursed before the 
living God, giving the honour due unto him which 
made them when they were nothing, and to our 
Saviour Christ who redeemed them, being lost, to 
the dead and dumb idol, the work of man's hand, 
which never did nor can do any thing for them, no, 
is not able to stir, nor once to move, and therefore 
worse than a vile worm, which can move and creep ? 
The excellent king Josiah also did take himself no 
hurt of images and idols, for he did know well what 
they were. Did he, therefore, because of his own 
knowledge, let idols and images stand ? Much less 
did he set any up ; or rather did he not by his know- 
ledge and authority also succour the ignorance of 
such as did not know what they were, by utter taking 
away of all such stumbling-blocks as might be occa- 
sion of ruin to his people and subjects ? Will they, 
because a few took no hurt by images or idols, break 
the general law of God, Thou shall make to thee no 
similitude, &c. ? They might as well, because Moses 
was not seduced by Jethro's daughter, nor Boaz by 
Ruth, being strangers, reason, that all the Jews 
might break the general law of God, forbidding 
his people to join their children in marriage with 
strangers, lest they seduce their children that they 
should not follow God. Wherefore they which thus 
reason, though it be not expedient, yet it is lawful 
to have images publicly, and to prove that lawful- 
ness by a few picked and chosen men ; if they object 
that indifferently to all men, which a very few can 
have without hurt and offence, they seem to take the 

against Peril of Idolatry, 91 

multitude for vile souls, (as he saith in Virgil,) of 
whose loss and safeguard no reputation is to be had, 
for whom yet Christ paid as dearly, as for the 
mightiest prince, or the wisest and best learned in the 
earth. And they that will have it generally to be 
taken for indifferent, that a very few take no hurt 
of it, though infinite multitudes beside perish there- 
by, show that they put little difference between the 
multitude of Christians and brute beasts, whose 
danger they do so little esteem. Besides this, if they 
be bishops, or parsons, or otherwise having charge 
of men's consciences, that thus reason. It is lawful 
to have images publicly, though it be not eorpedient, 
what manner of pastors show they themselves to be 
to their flock, which thrust unto them that which 
they themselves confess not to be expedient for them, 
but to the utter ruin of the souls committed to their 
charge, for whom they shall give a strait account 
before the Prince of pastors at the last day? For 
indeed to object to the weak, and ready to fall of 
themselves, such stumbling-blocks, is a thing not 
only not expedient, but unlawful, yea, and most 
wicked also. Wherefore it is to be wondered how 
they can call images, set up in churches and tem- 
ples to no profit or benefit of any, and to so great 
peril and danger, yea, hurt and destruction of many, 
or rather infinite, things indifferent. Is not the pub- 
lic setting up of them rather a snare for all men, and 
the tempting of God ? 1 beseech these reasoners to 
call to mind their own accustomed ordinance and 
decree, whereby they determined that the Scripture, 
though by God himself commanded to be known of 
all men, women, and children, should not be read of 
the simple, nor had in the vulgar tongue, for that, 
as they said, it was dangerous, by bringing the sim- 
ple people into errors. JJeut. xxxi. And will they 
not forbid images to be set up in churches and tem- 
ples, which are not commanded, but forbidden most 
straitly by God, but let them still be there, yea, and 

9^ TJie Third Part of the Sermon 

maintain them also, seeing the people are brought not 
in danger only, but indeed into most abominable errors 
and detestable idolatry thereby? Shall God's word, 
by God commanded to be read unto all, and known of 
all, for danger of heresy, as they say, be shut up ? 
And idols and images, notwithstanding they be forbid- 
den by God, and notwithstanding the danger ol'idolatry 
by them, shall they yet be set up, suffered and main- 
tained in churches and temples ? O worldly and 
fleshly wisdom, ever bent to maintain the inventions 
and traditions of men by carnal reason, and by the 
same to disannul or deface the holy ordinances, laws, 
and honour of the eternal God, who is to be honoured 
and praised for ever. Amen, 

Now it remaineth for the conclusion of this treatise 
to declare as well the abuse of churches and temples, 
by too costly and sumptuous decking and adorning of 
them, as also the lewd painting, gilding, and cloth- 
ing of idols and images, and so to conclude the whole 

In Tertullian's time, an hundred and threescore 
years after Christ, Christians had none other temples 
but common houses, whither they for the most part 
secretly resorted. Tertul. Apolog. cajj. 39. And so 
far off was it that they had before this time any goodly 
or gorgeous decked temples, that laws were made in 
Antoninus, Ve^us, and Commodus the emperors' times, 
that no Christians should dwell in houses, com^e in 
public baths, or be seen in streets, or any where 
abroad ; and that if they were once accused to be 
Christians, they should by no means be suffered to 
escape. Euseb. Lib. v. Eccl. Hist. As was practised 
on Apollonius, a noble senator of Rome, 
leronyraus. ^^^ being accused of his own bondman 
and slave that he was a Christian, could neither by his 
defence and apology, learnedly and eloquently written 
and read publicly in the senate, nor in respect that 
he was a citizen, nor for the dignity of his order, 
nor for the vileness and unlawfulness of his accuser 

against Peril of Idolatry. 93 

being his own slave, by likelihood of malice moved 
to forge lies against his lord, nor for no other 
respect or help, could be delivered from death. So 
that Christians were then driven to dwell in caves 
and dens : so far off was it that they had any public 
temples adorned and decked as they now be, which 
is here rehearsed to the confutation of those which 
report such glorious glossed fables of the goodly 
and gorgeous temples, that St. Peter, Linus, Cletus, 
and those thirty bishops their successors had at 
Rome, until the time of the emperor Constantine, 
and which St. Polycarp should have in Asia, or 
Irenaeus in France, by such lies, contrary to all 
true histories, to maintain the superfluous gilding and 
decking of temples now-a-days, wherein they put 
almost the whole sum and pith of our religion. 
But in those times the world was won to Christen- 
dom, not by gorgeous, gilded, and painted temples 
of Christians, which had scarcely houses to dwell in ; 
but by the godly, and, as it were, golden minds and 
firm faith of such as in all adversity and persecution 
professed the truth of our religion. And after these 
times in Maximinian and Constantius the emperors' 
proclamation, the places where Christians resorted 
to public prayer, were called conventicles. Etiseb, 
lib. viii. cap. 19. et lib. ix. cap. 9. De Civitate, 
lib. viii. cap. 1. And in Galerius Maximinus the 
emperor's epistle, they are called Oratories and Do- 
minicce. to say, places dedicated to the service of 
the Lord. And here by the way, it is to be noted, 
that at that time there were no churches or temples 
erected unto any saint, but to God only, as St. Au- 
gustine also recordeth, saying, " We build no temples 
unto our martyrs." And Eusebius himself calleth 
churches houses of prayer, and showeth that in Con- 
stantine the emperor's time, all men rejoiced, seeing, 
instead of low conventicles, which tyrants had de- 
stroyed, high temples to be builded. Lo, unto the 
time of Constantine, by the space of above three 

94 The Third Part of the Sermon 

hundred years after our Saviour Christ, when Christian 
religion was most pure, and indeed golden, Christians 
had but low and poor conventicles, and simple orato- 
ries, yea caves under the ground, called 
J'yp ^' Cri/ptce, where they, for fear of persecu- 
tion, assembled secretly together. A figure whereof 
remaineth in the vaults which yet are builded under 
great churches, to put us in remembrance of the old 
state of the primitive church before Constantine ; 
whereas in Constantine's time, and after him, were 
builded great and goodly temples for 
Christians called Basilicce, either for that 
the Greeks used to call all great and goodly places 
Basilicas, or for that the high and everlasting King, 
God and our Saviour Christ, was served in them. 
But although Constantine, and other princes of good 
zeal to our religion, did sumptuously deck and adorn 
Christians' temples, yet did they dedicate at that time 
all churches and temples to God, or our Saviour Christ, 
and to no saint ; for that abuse began long after in 
Justinian's time. And that gorgeousness then used, 
as it was borne with, as rising of a good zeal ; so was 
it signified of the godly learned even at that time, 
that such cost might otherwise have been better 
bestowed. Novel. Constit. o. et 47. Let St. Jerome 
(although otherwise too great a liker and allower of 
external and outward things,) be a proof hereof, who 
hath these words in his epistle to Demetriades : " Let 
others (saith St. Jerome) build churches, cover walls 
with tables of marble, carry together huge pillars, and 
gild their tops or heads, which do not feel or under- 
stand their precious decking and adorning; let them 
deck the doors with ivory and silver, and set the 
golden altars with precious stones ; I blame it not ; 
let every man abound in his own sense ; and better is 
it so to do, than carefully to keep their riches laid up 
in store. But thou hast another way appointed thee, 
to clothe Christ in the poor, to visit him in the sick, 
feed him in the hungry, lodge him in those who do 

against Peril of Idolatry, 95 

lack harbour, and especially such as be of the house- 
hold of faith." 

And the same St. Jerome toucheth the same matter 
somewhat more freely in his Treatise of the Life of 
Clerks to Nepotian, saying thus : " Many build walls, 
and erect pillars of churches ; the smooth marbles do 
glister, the roof shineth with gold, the altar is set with 
precious stones : but of the ministers of Christ there 
is no election or choice. Neither let any man object 
and allege against me the rich temple that w^as in 
Jewry, the table, candlesticks, incense, ships, platters, 
cups, mortars, and other things all of gold. Then 
were these things allowed of the Lord, when the priests 
offered sacrifices, and the blood of beasts was accounted 
the redemption of sins. Howbeit all these things 
went before in figure, and they w^ere written for us, 
upon whom the end of the world is come. And now 
when that our Lord, beingx poor, hath dedicate the 
poverty of his house, let us remember his cross, and 
we shall esteem riches as mire and dung. What do 
we marvel at that which Christ calleth wicked Mam- 
mon I Whereto do we so highly esteem and love that 
which St. Peter doth for a glory testify that he had 
not?" Hitherto St. Jerome. 

Thus you see how St. Jerome teacheth the sump- 

tuousness amongst the Jews to be a figure to signify, 

and not an example to follow, and that those outward 

things were suffered for a time until Christ our Lord 

came, who turned all those outward things into spirit, 

faith, and truth. And the same St. Jerome, upon the 

seventh chapter of Jeremy, saith, " God commanded 

both the Jews at that time, and now us who are placed 

in the church, that we have no trust in the goodliness 

of building and gilt roofs, and in walls covered with 

tables of marble, and say. The temple of the Lord, the 

temple of the Lord. For that is the temple of the 

Lord, wherein dwelleth true faith, godly conversation, 

and the company of all virtues." And upon the 

Prophet Haggai, he describeth the true and right 

96 The Third Part of the Sermon 

decking or ornaments of the temple, after this sort : 
" I (saith St. Jerome,) do think the silver, wherewith 
the house of God is decked, to be the doctrine of the 
Scriptm'es, of the which it is spoken. The doctrine of 
the Lord is a pure doctrine, silver tried in the fire, 
purged from dross, purified seven times. And I do 
take gold to be that which remaineth in the hid sense 
of the saints and the secret of the heart, and shineth 
with the true light of God. Which is evident that the 
Apostle also meant of the saints that build upon the 
foundation of Christ, some silver, some gold, some 
precious stones : that by the gold, the hid sense ; by 
silver, godly utterance ; by precious stones, works 
which please God, might be signified. With these 
metals the church of our Saviour is made more goodly 
and gorgeous, than was the synagogue in old time. 
WMth these lively stones is the church and house of 
Christ builded, and peace is given to it for ever." All 
these be St. Jerome's sayings. No more did the old 
godly bishops and doctors of the Church allow the 
over-sumptuous furniture of temples and churches, 
with plate, vessels of gold, silver, and precious vest- 
ments. St. Chrysostom saith, in the ministry of the 
holy sacraments there is no need of golden vessels, but 
of golden minds. And St. Ambrose saith, " Christ 
sent his Apostles without gold, and gathered his 
church without gold. 2 Offic. capite 28. The church 
hath gold, not to keep it, but to bestow it on the ne- 
cessities of the poor. The sacraments look for no 
gold, neither do they please God for the commenda- 
tion of gold, which are not bought for gold. The 
adorning and decking of the sacraments is the redemp- 
tion of captives." Thus much saith St. Ambrose. 

St. Jerome commendeth Exuperius, bishop of To- 
lose, that he carried the sacrament of the Lord's body 
in a wicker basket, and the sacrament of his blood in 
a glass, and so cast covetousness out of the church. 
And Bonifacius, bishop and martyr, as it is recorded 
in the decrees, testifieth, that in old time the ministers 

against Peril of Idolatry, 9T 

used wooden, and not golden vessels. Tit. de conse- 
cra. can. Triburien. And Zephirinus, the sixteenth 
bishop of Rome, made a decree, that they should use 
vessels of glass. Likewise were the vestures used in 
the church in old time very plain and single, and no- 
thing costly. And Rabanus at large declareth, that 
this costly and manifold furniture of vestments of late 
used in the church was fet from the Jewish usage, 
and agreeth with Aaron's appareling almost altoge- 
ther. Lib. i. Inst. cap. 14. P'or the maintenance of 
the which, Innocentius the pope pronounceth boldly, 
that all the customs of the old law be not abolished, 
that we might in such apparel, of Christians the more 
willincrlv become Jev/ish. This is noted, not against 
churches and temples, which are most necessary, and 
ought to have their due use and honour, as is in ano- 
ther Homily for that purpose declared, nor against the 
convenient cleanness and ornaments thereof; but 
against the sumptuousness and abuses of the temples 
and churches. For it is a church or temple also that 
glittereth with no marble, shinetli with no gold nor 
silver, glistereth with no pearls nor precious stones ; 
but witii plainness and frugality signifieth no proud 
doctrine nor people, but humble, frugal, and nothing 
esteeming earthly and outward things, but gloriously 
decked with inward ornaments, according as the pro- 
phet declareth, saying. The king's daughter is altoge- 
ther glorious inwardly. 

Now concerning excessive decking of images and 
idols, with painting, gilding, adorning with precious 
vestures, pearl, and stone, what is it else, but for the 
further provocation and enticement to spiritual for- 
nication, to deck spiritual harlots most costly and 
wantonly, which the idolatrous church understandeth 
well enough. For she being indeed not only an harlot, 
(as the Scripture calleth her,) but also a foul, filthy, old 
withered harlot, (for she is indeed of ancient years,) 
and understanding her lack of natural and true beauty, 
and great loathsomeness which of herself she hath, 

\yy 14] E 

98 The Third Part of the Sermon 

doth, after the custom of such harlots, paint herself, 
and deck and tire herself with gold, pearl, stone, and 
all kind of precious jewels, that she, shining with the 
outward beauty and glory of them, may please the 
foolish fantasy of fond lovers, and so entice them to 
spiritual fornication with her : who, if they saw her (I 
will not say naked,) but in simple apparel, would ab- 
hor her, as the foulest and filthiest harlot that ever was 
seen : according as appeareth by the description of 
the garnishing of the great strumpet of all strumpets, 
the mother of whoredom, set forth by St. John in his 
Revelation, who by her glory provoked the princes of 
the earth to commit whoredom with her. Apoc, xvii. 
Whereas, on the contrary part, the true church of God, 
as a chaste matron, espoused (as the Scripture teach- 
eth,) to one husband, our Saviour Jesus Christ, whom 
alone she is content only to please and serve, and 
looketh not to delight the eyes or fantasies of any 
other strange lovers or wooers, is content with her 
natural ornaments, not doubting by such sincere sim- 
plicity best to please him, who can well skill of the 
difference between a painted visage and a true natural 
beauty. And concerning such glorious gilding and 
decking of images, both God's word written in the tenth 
chapter of the prophet Jeremy, and St. Hierom's Com- 
mentaries upon the same, are- most worthy to be noted. 
First, the words of the Scriptures be these : The work- 
mem with his axe hewed the timber out of the loood 
with the work of his hands ; he decked it with gold 
and silver ; he joined it with nails and pins, and the 
stroke of an hammer^ that it might hold together. 
They be made smooth as the palm, and they cannot 
speak ; if they be borne, they remove, for they cannot 
go. Fear ye them not, for they can neither do evil 
nor good. Jer. x. Thus saith the prophet. Upon 
which text St. Hierom hath these words : " This is 
the description of idols, which the Gentiles worship ; 
their matter is vile and corruptible. And whereas the 
artificer is mortal, the things he maketh must needs be 

against Peril of Idolatry, 99 

corruptible : he decketh it with silver and gold, that 
with the glittering or shining of both metals he may 
deceive the simple. Which error indeed hath passed 
over from the Gentiles, that w^e should judge religion 
to stand in riches." And by and bye after he saith, 
" They have the beauty of metals, and be beautified 
by the art of painting ; but good or profit is there none 
in them." And shortly after again, " They make great 
promises, and devise an image of vain worshipping 
of their own fantasies ; they make great brags to de- 
ceive every simple body : they dull and amaze the 
understanding of the unlearned, as it were, with golden 
sentences, and eloquence, shining with the brightness 
of silver. And of their own devisers and makers are 
these images advanced and magnified, in the which 
is no utility nor profit at all, and the worshipping of 
the which properly pertaineth to the Gentiles and hea- 
then, and such as know not God." 

Thus far St. Jerome's words. Whereupon you may 
note as well his judgment of images themselves, as also 
of the painting, gilding, and decking of them : that it 
is an error which came from the Gentiles, that it per- 
suadeth religion to remain in riches, that it amazeth 
and deceiveth the simple and unlearned with golden 
sentences, and silver-shining eloquence, and that it ap- 
pertaineth properly to the Gentiles and heathens, and 
such as know not God. Wherefore the having, paint- 
ing, gilding, and decking of images, by St. Jerome's 
judgment, is erroneous, seducing and bringing into 
error, (specially the simple and unlearned,) heathenish, 
and void of the knowlecfe of God. 

Surely the prophet Daniel, in the eleventh chapter, 
declareth such sumptuous decking of images with gold, 
silver, and precious stones, to be a token of Antichrist's 
kingdom, who (as the Prophet foreshoweth) shall 
worship God with such gorgeous things. Now usually 
such excessive adorning and decking of images hath 
risen and been maintained either of offerings provoked 
by superstition, and, given in idolatry, or of spoils, 
robberies, usury, or goods otherwise unjustly gotten, 

E il 

100 The Third Part of the Sermon 

whereof wicked men have given part to the images or 
saints, (as they call them,) that they might be pardoned 
of the whole : as of divers writings and old monuments 
concerning the cause and end of certain great gifts, 
may well appear. And indeed such money, so wick- 
edly gotten, is most meet to be put to so wicked a use. 
And that which they take to be amends for the whole 
before God, is more abominable in his sight, than both 
the wicked getting, and the more wicked spending of 
all the rest. For how the Lord alloweth such gifts, 
he declareth evidently in the prophet Isaiah, saying, 
/ (saith the Lord) do love judgment, and I hate spoil 
and raveny offered in sacrifice : Isa. Ixi. which the 
very Gentiles understood. For Plato showeth, that 
such men as suppose that God doth pardon wicked 
men, if they give part of their spoils and rapine to 
him, take him to be like a dog, that would be en- 
treated and hired with part of the prey, to suffer the 
wolves to worry the sheep. Dialog, de Legib. x. 
And in case the goods, wherewith images be decked, 
were justly gotten, yet it is extreme madness, so 
foolishly and wickedly to bestow goods purchased by 
wisdom and truth. Of such lewdness Lactantius writ- 
eth thus : *' Men do in vain deck images of the gods 
with gold, ivory, and precious stone, as though they 
could take any pleasure in those things. For what 
use have they of precious gifts, which understand nor 
feel nothing ? Even the same that dead men have. 
For with like reason do they bury dead bodies, farced 
with spices and odours, and clothed with precious 
vestures, and deck images, which neither felt nor knew 
when they were made, nor understand when they be 
honoured, for they get no sense and understanding by 
their consecration." Lib. ii. Inst. cap. 4. Thus far 
Lactantius, and much more, too long here to rehearse, 
declaring, that as little girls play with little puppets, 
so be these decked images great puppets for old fools 
to play with. And that we may know what, not only 
men of our religion, but Ethnicks also, judge of such 
decking of dead images, it is not unprofitable to hear 

against Peril of Idolatnj. 101 

what Seneca, a wise and excellent learned senator of 
Rome, and philosopher, saith concerning the foolish- 
ness of ancient and gi'ave men, used in his time in 
worshipping and decking of images : "We (saith Se- 
neca) be not twice children, (as the common saying is,) 
but always children : but this is the difference, that we 
being elder, play the children : and in these plays 
they bring in before great and well-decked puppets, 
(for so he calleth images,) ointments, incense, and 
odours. To these puppets they offer up sacrifice, 
which have a mouth, but not the use of teeth. Upon 
these they put attiring and precious apparel, which 
have no use of clothes. To these they give gold and 
silver, which they who receive it (meaning the images) 
lack, as well as they that have given it fi'om them." 
And Seneca much commendeth Dionysius, king of 
Sicily, for his merry robbing of such decked and jewel- 
led puppets. But you will ask, what doth this apper- 
tain to our images, which is written against the idols 
of the Gentiles ? Altogether surely. For what use 
or pleasure have our im.ages of their decking and pre- 
cious ornaments ? Did our images understand when 
they were made ? or know when they be so trimmed 
and decked ? Be not these things bestowed upon 
them as much in vain, as upon dead men, which have 
no sense ? Wherefore it followeth, that there is like 
foolishness and lewdness in decking of our images, as 
great puppets for old fools, like children, to play the 
wicked play of idolatry before, as was among the 
Ethnicks and Gentiles. Our churches stand full of 
such great puppets, wondrously decked and adorned ; 
garlands and coronets be set on their heads, precious 
pearls hanging about their necks ; their fingers shine 
with rings, set with precious stones ; their dead and 
stiff bodies are clothed with fi^arments stiff with crokl. 
You would believe that the images of our men-saints 
were some princes of Persia land with their proud 
apparel, and the idols of our women-saints were nice, 
and well-trimmed harlots, tempting their paramours to 
wantonness : whereby the saints of God are not ho- 

E O 

102 T!ie Third Part of the Sermon 

noured, but most dishonoured, and their godliness, 
soberness, chastity, contempt of riches, and of the 
vanity of the world, defaced and brought in doubt by 
such monstrous decking, most differing from their 
sober and godly lives. And because the whole 
pageant must throughly be played, it is not enough 
thus to deck idols, but at the last come in the priests 
themselves, likewise decked with gold and pearl, that 
they may be meet servants for such lords and ladies, 
and fit worshippers of such gods and goddesses. And 
with a solemn pace they pass forth before these golden 
puppets, and fall down to the ground on their mar- 
row-bones before these honourable idols ; and then 
rising up again, offer up odours and incense unto 
them, to give the people an example of double ido- 
latry, by worshipping not only the idol, but the gold 
also, and riches, wherewith it is garnished. Which 
things, the most part of our old martyrs, rather than 
they would do, or once kneel, or offer up one crumb 
of incense before an image, suffered most cruel and 
terrible deaths, as the histories of them at large do 
declare. And here again their allegation out of 
Gregory the First and Damascene, that images be 
the laymen's books, and that pictures are the scrip- 
ture of idiots and simple persons, is worthy to be 
considered. Greg. Epist. ad Serenum Massil. Da- 
mas, de Fide Ortho. 1. iv. c. 17. For as it hath been 
touched in divers places before, how they be books 
teaching nothing but lies, as by St. Paul in the first 
chapter to the Romans evidently appeareth, of the 
images of God ; so what manner of books and scrip- 
ture these painted and gilt images of saints be unto 
the common people, note well I pray you. For 
after that our preachers shall have instructed and 
exhorted the people to the following of the virtues 
of the saints, as contempt of this world, poverty, 
soberness, chastity, and such like virtues, which un- 
doubtedly were in the saints ; think you, as soon as 
they turn their faces from the preacher, and look 
upon the graven books and painted scripture of the 

against Peril of Idolatry, 103 

glorious gilt images and idols, all shining and glit- 
tering with metal and stone, and covered with pre- 
cious vestures, or else with Chaerea in Terence, be- 
hold a painted table, w^herein is set forth by the art 
of the painter, an image, with a nice and wanton 
apparel and countenance, more like to Venus or 
Flora, than Mary Magdalen ; or if like to Mary 
Magdalen, it is when she played the harlot, rather 
than when she wept for her sins ; — when, I say, they 
turn about ft'om the preacher, to these books and 
schoolmasters, and painted scriptures, shall they not 
find them lying books ? teaching other manner of 
lessons, of esteeming of riches, of pride, and vanity 
in apparel, of niceness and wantonness, and perad-. 
venture of whoredom, as Cheerea of like pictures was 
taught. And in Lucian, one learned of Venus Gnidia 
a lesson too abominable here to be remembered. 
Be not these, think you, pretty books and scriptures 
for simple people, and specially for wives and young 
maidens to look in, read on, and learn such lessons 
of? What will they think either of the preacher, 
who taught them contrary lessons of the saints, and 
therefore bv these carved doctors are charged with a 
lie, or of the saints themselves, if they believe these 
graven books and painted scriptures of them, who 
make the saints, now reigning in heaven with God, 
to their great dishonour, schoolmasters of such 
vanity, which they in their lifetime most abhorred ? 
For what lessons of contempt of riches, and vanity 
of this world, can such books so besmeared with 
gold, set with precious stones, covered with silks, 
teach ? What lessons of soberness and chastity can 
our women learn of these pictured scriptures, with 
their nice apparel and wanton looks ? But away, 
for shame, with these coloured cloaks of idolatry, of 
the books and scriptui'es of images and pictures to 
teach idiots, nay, to make idiots and stark fools and 
beasts of Christians. Do men, I pray you, when 
they have the same books at home with them, run 
on pilgrimage to seek like books at Rome, Com.- 

104 The Third Part of the Sermon 

postella, or Jerusalem, to be taught by them, when 
tney have the like to learn at home ? Do men reve- 
rence some books and despise and set light by other 
of the same sort ? Do men kneel before their books, 
light candles at noon-time, burn incense, offer up 
gold and silver, and other gifts, to their books ? Do 
men either feign or believe miracles to be wrought by 
their books ? I am sure that the New Testament of 
our Saviour Jesus Christ, containing the word of life, 
is a more lively, express, and true image of our Sa- 
viour, than all carved, graven, molten, and painted 
images in the world be ; and yet none of all these 
things be done to that book or scripture of the Gospel 
of our Saviour, which be done to images and pictures, 
the books and scriptures of laymen and idiots, as they 
call them. Wherefore call them what they list, it 
is most evident by their deeds, that they make of 
them no other books nor scriptures, than such as 
teach most filthy and horrible idolatry, as the users 
of such books daily prove by continual practising 
the same. O books and scriptures, in the which 
the devilish schoolmaster, Satan, hath penned the 
lewd lessons of wicked idolatry, for his dastardly 
disciples and scholars to behold, read, and learn, to 
God's most high dishonour, and their most horrible 
damnation. Have not we been much bound, think 
you, to those which should have taught us the truth 
out of God's book and his holy Scripture, that they 
have shut up that book and scripture from us, and 
none of us so bold as once to open it, or read on it ? 
and instead thereof, to spread us abroad these 
goodly, carved, and gilded books and painted scrip- 
tures, to teach us such good and godly lessons ? 
Have not they done well, after they ceased to stand 
in pulpits themselves, and to teach the people com- 
mitted to their instruction, keeping silence of God's 
word, and become dumb dogs, (as the prophet calleth 
them,) to set up in their stead, on every pillar and 
corner of the church, such goodly doctors, as dumb, 
but more wicked than themselves be? We need not 

against Peril of Idolatry, 105 

to complain of the lack of one dumb parson, having so 
many dumb devilish vicars (I mean these idols and 
painted puppets) to teach in their stead. Now in the 
mean season, whilst the dumb and dead idols stand 
thus decked and clothed, contrary to God's law and 
commandment, the poor Christian people, the lively 
images of God, commended to us so tenderly by our 
Saviour Christ, as most dear to him, stand naked, 
shivering for cold, and their teeth chattering in their 
heads, and no man covereth them, are pined with 
hunger and thirst, and no man giveth them a penny to 
refresh them ; whereas pounds be ready at all times 
(contrary to God's will) to deck and trim dead stocks 
and stones, which neither feel cold, hunger, nor 

Clemens hath a notable sentence concerning this 
matter, saying thus : " That serpent the devil doth 
by the mouth of certain men utter these words : We^ 
for the honour of the invisible God, do worship visi- 
ble images ; which doubtless is most false. For if 
you will truly honour the image of God, you should, 
by doing well to man, honour the true image of 
God, in him. For the image of God is in every 
man : but the likeness of God is not in every one, but 
in those only which have a godly heart and pure 
mind. If you will therefore truly honour the image 
of God, we do declare to you the truth that ye do 
well to man, who is made after the image of God, 
that you give honour and reverence to him, and refresh 
the hungry with meat, the thirsty with drink, the naked 
with clothes, the sick with attendance, the stranger 
harbourless v/ith lodging, the prisoners with neces- 
saries : and this shall be accounted as truly bestowed 
upon God. And these things are so directly apper- 
taining to God's honour, that whosoever doth not this, 
shall seem to have reproached and done villainy to 
the image of God. For what honour of God is this, 
to run to images of stock and stone, and to honour 
vain and dead figures of God, and to despise man, in 
whom is the true image of God ? And by and by 

106 The Third Part of the Sermon 

after he saith, " Understand ye therefore that this is 
the suggestion of the serpent Satan, lurking within 
you, which persuadeth you that you are godly, when 
you honour insensible and dead images, and that you 
be not ungodly, when you hurt or leave unsuccoured 
the lively and reasonable creatures." Lib. 5. ad Ja- 
cobum Domini, All these be the words of Clemens. 

Note, I pray you, how this most ancient and 
learned doctor, within one hundred years of our Sa- 
viour Christ's time, most plainly teacheth, that no 
service of God, or religion acceptable to him, can be 
in honouring of dead images ; but in succouring of the 
poor, the lively images of God, according to St. James, 
who saith. This is the pure and true religion before 
God the Father, to succour fatherless and motherless 
children, and widows in their affliction, and to keep 
himself undefiled from this world. 

True religion, then, and pleasing of God, standeth 
not in making, setting up, painting, gilding, clothing, 
and decking of dumb and dead images, (w^hich be but 
great puppets and babies for old fools in dotage, and 
wicked idolatry, to dally and play with,) nor in kissing 
of them, capping, kneeling, offering to them, incensing 
of them, setting up of candles, hanging up of legs, 
arms, or whole bodies of w^ax before them, or praying 
and asking of them, or of saints, things belonging only 
to God to give. But all these things be vain and 
abominable, and most damnable before God. Where- 
fore all such do not only bestow their money and la- 
bour in vain ; but with their pains and cost purchase 
to themselves God's wrath and utter indignation, and 
everlasting damnation both of body and soul. For 
ye have heard it evidently proved in these homilies 
against idolatry, by God's word, the doctors of the 
church, ecclesiastical histories, reason and experience, 
that images have been and be worshipped, and so 
idolatry committed to them by infinite multitudes, to 
the great offence of God's majesty, and danger of 
infinite souls ; and that idolatry cannot possibly be 
separated from images set up in churches and temples. 

against Peril of Idolatry, 107 

gilded and decked gloriously, and that therefore our 
images be indeed very idols, and so all the prohibi- 
tions, laws, curses, threatenings of horrible plagues, 
as well temporal as eternal, contained in the Holy 
Scripture, concerning idols and the makers and main- 
tainers, and worshippers of them, appertain also to 
our images set up in churches and temples, and to 
the makers, maintainers, and worshippers of them. 
And all those names of abomination which God's word 
in the Holy Scriptures giveth to the idols of the Gen- 
tiles, appertain to our images, being idols like to 
them, and having like idolatry committed unto them. 
And God's own mouth in the Holy Scriptures calleth 
them vanities, lies, deceits, uncleanness, filthiness, 
dung, mischief, and abomination before the Lord. 
Wherefore God's horrible wrath, and our most dread- 
ful danger cannot be avoided, without the destruction 
and utter abolishinty of all such imaijes and idols" out 
of the church and temple of God, which to accom- 
plish, God put in the minds of all Christian princes. 
And in the meantime, let us take heed and be wise, 
O ye beloved of the Lord, and let us have no strange 
gods, but one only God, who made us when we were 
nothing, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who 
redeemed us when we were lost, and with his holy 
Spirit, who doth sanctify us. For this is life ever- 
lasting, to know him to be the only true God, and 
Jesus Christ, whom he hath sent. John xvii. Let us 
honour and worship for religion's sake none but him ; 
and him let us worship and honour as he will himself, 
and hath declared by his word, that he will be ho- 
noured and worshipped, not in nor by images or idols, 
which he hath most straitly forbidden, neither in 
kneeling, lighting of candles, burning of incense, 
offering up of gifts unto images and idols, to believe 
that we shall please him ; for all these be abomination 
before God : John iv. but let us honour and worship 
God in spirit and truth, fearing and loving him above 
all things, trusting in him only, calling upon him, 
and praying to him only, praising and lauding of him 

108 The Third Part of the Sermon, S^c. 

only, and all other in him, and for him. For such 
worshippers doth our heavenly Father love, who is a 
most pure spirit, and therefore will be worshipped in 
spirit and truth. And such worshippers were Abraham, 
Moses, David, Elias, Peter, Paul, John, and all other 
the holy patriarchs, prophets, apostles, martyrs, and 
all true saints of God, who all, as the true friends of 
God, were enemies and destroyers of images and 
idols, as the enemies of God and his true religion. 
Wherefore take heed and be wise, O ye belover^. of 
the Lord, and that which others, contrary to God's 
word, bestow wickedly, and to their damnation, upon 
dead stocks and stones, (no images, but enemies of 
God and his saints,) that bestow ye, as the faithful 
servants of God, according to God's word, mercifully 
upon poor men and women, fatherless children, wi- 
dows, sick persons, strangers, prisoners, and such 
others that be in any necessity, that ye may, at that 
great day of the Lord, hear that most blessed and 
comfortable saying of our Saviour Christ : Come, ye 
blessed, into the kingdom of my father, prepared for 
you before the beginning of the world. For I was 
hungry, and ye gave me meat ; thirsty, and ye gave 
me drink ; naked, and ye clothed me ; harbourless, and 
ye lodged me ; in prison, and ye visited me ; sick, and 
ye comforted me. For whatsoever ye have done for 
the poor and needy in my name, and for my sake, that 
have ye done for me. To the which his heavenly 
kingdom, God the father of mercies bring us, for Jesu3 
Christ's sake, our only Saviour, Mediator, and Advo- 
cate, to whom with the Holy Ghost, one immorta\ 
invisible, and most glorious God, be all honour, and 
thanksgiving, and glory, world without end. Amen. 

Gilbert & Kivington, Printers, St. John's Square, i.undon. 






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